Winter is nearly here and with winter comes the cold and the snow for most of the United States. Winter officially starts on December 1st although most calendars list the first day of winter as December 21st. Official records are kept starting with December 1st and most people call it winter but it's actually known as "astronomical winter". This means that the winter starts during the winter solstice which happens to occur on December 21st and ends on March 20th. During this time the sun is at an angle that makes it's heating capacity at a minimum in the northern hemisphere.

Winter for most of us means bundling up with mittens, scarves and heavy coats along with shoveling snow or dealing with ice. Winter brings the potential for various types of winter precipitation including snow, sleet, hail and rain including freezing rain. Winter also can bring some storms including blizzards, nor'easters, and ice storms. Below freezing and cold temperatures
are also not unusual with winter.

While winter might not be a favorite season of everyone think of all the fun that can be had in the winter. From snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating on the frozen lakes and ponds, sledding, making snowmen, making snowforts to hide in and of course all the kids favorite day a snowday off from school. These are all fun activities that we are only able to
do for a few short months when mother nature provides us with the fluffy white stuff. And not everyone is lucky enough to get snow during winter some states rarely if ever see snow. We also can't forget while snow can be an inconvenience for a bit it also provides an income for others that do snow-plowing and shoveling. Nothing beats looking out in the morning
to a fresh white coating of snow on the lawns and cars and before you know it spring is here and the snow is a distant memory.

Some interesting winter weather facts:

- The coldest temperature ever officially recorded in the United States was -79.8 degrees F on January 23, 1971 at Prospect Creek Camp which is in the Endicott Mountains of Northern Alaska.

-Antarctica is the coldest place on the Earth. On August 24, 1960 the lowest temperature ever recorded was -126.9 F at the Russian station of Vostok.

- The only state that has never recorded a below-zero temperature is Hawaii.

- A nor'easter gets the name because of it's strong northeasterly winds that blow in from the ocean. The wind from a nor'easter can actually exceed hurricane force in intensity.

-You can still get a sunburn in the winter. When the sun reflects off the snow it can cause a sunburn.

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