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The Winter Portal

A snow-covered park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during winter

Winter is the coldest season of the year in polar and temperate zones (winter does not occur in most of the tropical zone). It occurs after autumn and before spring in each year. Winter is caused by the axis of the Earth in that hemisphere being oriented away from the Sun. Different cultures define different dates as the start of winter, and some use a definition based on weather. When it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa. In many regions, winter is associated with snow and freezing temperatures. The moment of winter solstice is when the sun's elevation with respect to the North or South Pole is at its most negative value (that is, the sun is at its farthest below the horizon as measured from the pole). The day on which this occurs has the shortest day and the longest night, with day length increasing and night length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice. The earliest sunset and latest sunrise dates outside the polar regions differ from the date of the winter solstice, however, and these depend on latitude, due to the variation in the solar day throughout the year caused by the Earth's elliptical orbit (see earliest and latest sunrise and sunset).

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Jacksonville Snow 2.jpg
Snow rarely occurs in the U.S. state of Florida, as freezing temperatures in the state are generally caused by the cold and dry winds of anticyclones. Frost is more common than snow, requiring temperatures of or less than 45°F (7°C), a cloudless sky, and a relative humidity of 65% or more. Generally, for snow to occur, the polar jet stream must move southward through Texas and into the Gulf of Mexico, with a stalled cold front across the southern portion of the state curving northeastward to combine freezing air into the frontal clouds. Most of the state is in a rare portion of the continental United States that receives a mean maximum monthly snowfall amount of zero, the only other such areas being southern Texas and California. Much of the information prior to 1900 is from weather climatology provided by the Jacksonville National Weather Service; information for other locations is sparse. Records of snow within the state date back to 1774, when an "extraordinary white rain" was reported .Most recently, on January 3, 2008, light snow flurries fell near Daytona Beach.

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  • Winter storms blanket Midwest and Northeast United States, cause travel delays


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The only bad things about winter are women's fashions and movies.
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