The exact time at which the sun's rays reach the Tropic of Capricorn (-23.5° latitude) marks the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere--the longest night of the year. The winter solstice (solstice - the Latin word that implies that sun is standing still) occurs at 11:48 p.m. Monday.
Meteorological winter differs from astronomical winter. We use the winter months, December, January and February as "winter." And what a winter it has been so far! Since December 1, the average temperature ranks 8th warmest all-time at 42°. Fifteen days this month have been above normal, with 11 days topping 50° or warmer.
MORE UNSEASONABLY WARM WEATHER
Wind shifts will be frequent in the coming days. Several fronts are to pass and will really play havoc with daily area temperatures. Two "cold fronts" will pass before Christmas along with one warm front. The warm front moving through Wednesday morning could once again send temperatures above the 60° mark and challenge a 1933 record of 64° for the date.
NO SNOW FOR CHRISTMAS BUT TEMPERATURES LOWER
After the warm conditions Wednesday, a cold front will pass sending only slightly cooler air in to end the week and for Christmas. Ahead of the front, the windy and mild conditions may be enough to support a skinny line of thunderstorms late Wednesday. A "marginal" risk of severe storms has been forecast by the Storm Prediction Center for a portion of Indiana.
Behind the Wednesday night rain fall the temperatures will slide, cooling into the 40s by Thursday afternoon and holding in the upper 40s Friday for Christmas Day.
The front stalls south Friday evening and returns slowly north with time entering the weekend. This front will be a devil to narrow down its exact location. We know a large north to south temperature spread is likely to develop starting Saturday, perhaps as much as a 30° spread! Exact location of the front will determine who is in the 40s and who makes 60° warmth. The front will likely wobble north and south through Monday setting the stage for an extended spell of wet and possibly stormy conditions. Rain is back starting Saturday and could persist into Monday. Current long range forecasts are generating 2"to 4" rainfall averages. Amounts could go higher in thunderstorms. Stay tuned!