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  • "
    OMPITA wrote:
    Help me someone!

    I thought 21/22 December was 'mid-winter' - therefore in my feeble mind I reckoned that about six or seven weeks either side of that date would more or less constitute 'Winter'. If so 18th December would well and truly be in wintertime.

    How can mid-winter be the beginning of winter?

    Answers in words of one syllable please
    Technically, Winter is defined as starting at the solstice and running until the equinox, so it would start on 21st Dec. Meteorologists tend to consider Winter for practical terms as being December, January and February, which are the 3 coldest months.

    21st December is not really "mid-Winter". It is the shortest day, but not the latest sunrise or earliest sunset. But it will be the day where the sunrise position stops changing, which is how ancient people knew the solstice had come. For them, this was when Winter began: the stored summer food has dwindled, nothing is growing. This is when cattle would be slaughtered, to eat the meat but also save the precious stocks of grain.

    There is a time lag between the shortest hours of daylight and the coldest period, because the oceans cool and warm more slowly than the land. Same in summer: the longest day is in June, but the hottest time is normally late July/early August.

    So in fact mid-Winter would be around 15th Jan meteorologically, or around 6th Feb in strictest terms. Strictly, it is the solstice, rather than mid-winter."
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Will this be our first snowless winter since 2002?

Flashback to Hilly Fields, Colchester in January 2013

Flashback to Hilly Fields, Colchester in January 2013

First published in News

ESSEX is set for a snow-free winter for the first time in more than a decade.

Tom Defty, of Essex Weather Centre, believes not a single snowflake will fall this winter.

If his prediction proves correct, it will make a stark contrast to last February and March, when there were several weeks of freezing conditions.

Mr Defty said: “This may be the first winter since 2002 that we see no snow, not a single flake, in Essex.

“It is past Mid Winters Day, we have survived without snow so far.

“From now it is going to be more of the same, it is going to be more rain and a very mild weather.”

Mr Defty said people should look out for signs of an early spring.

He added: “One of the biggest things people will notice is the spring bulbs coming through, the rose bushes flowering and the trees have got buds on.

“I have been sent so many photos of early-blooming daffodils.

“Normally when everything progresses early we have a sudden cold snap but I have not seen anything significant in the forecast.”

Mr Defty added even if cold winds were to come from Europe, sea temperatures are so warm, a cold snap would be unlikely.

He said: “A year agowe had pictures of Essex under really deep snow and rush hour was absolute mayhem. This year it is a completely different picture.

“We won’t have the big storm systems we had in December but we will have rainfall day after day, a couple of millimetres falling on saturated ground and it is going to take a long time for the ground to dry out.”

Surface flooding will be the main weather concern from now until the end of winter.

Essex Weather Centre figures show we already had the total expected rainfall for January within the first two weeks of the year.

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