By Nathan Ham
Thursday marked the first day of spring and with it some much-needed sunshine and some nice, warm spring temperatures across the area.
Temperatures jumped into the upper 60s in most parts of the High Country on Thursday and is heading in the same direction for Friday with a generous amount of sunshine Friday morning and early Friday afternoon before rain showers return to the forecast Friday evening and the remainder of the weekend. Temperatures will also drop back into the 50s and even upper 40s.
This year, the first day of spring is much earlier than normal. In fact, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, March 19 is the earliest arrival of the spring equinox in 124 years. The last time the first day of spring was not on March 20 or March 21 was in 1896.
Days will now get longer up until the first day of summer, which will be on June 20. This happens because the earth is now tilted towards the sun in the Northern Hemisphere, meaning longer days of the sun above the horizon. This also explains why temperatures steadily increase through spring and into the summer. The Northern Hemisphere is closer to the sun, meaning warmer temperatures and longer exposure to the sun.