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We may not have snow on the ground, but we WILL start having brighter evenings here in southeast Minnesota starting this week.

I'd always heard that the shortest day of the year is still ahead of us-- December 21st, when winter 'officially' begins, which is also known as the winter solstice. And while that's still true, here in Minnesota this year, we'll actually start to see sunsets occurring LATER in the afternoon even BEFORE December 21st.

Wait, what's that?!? Well, it's a quirk of science, which according to this explanation from MPR Chief Meteorologist Paul Huttner (via, is due mainly to the fact that our earth's orbit isn't a perfect elliptical orbit as it travels around the sun each day. As a result, each solar day isn't exactly 24 hours long-- it varies. Which, if you carry the two and try to digest the other science, means that our sunsets start occurring later each evening here in Rochester even BEFORE the winter solstice on December 21st.

In fact, according to, Rochester's earliest sunset in 2020 already happened last Friday, December 11th, when the sun started setting at 4:31:53 pm CST. By Saturday, December 12th sunset didn't happen until 4:32:02 pm cst-- an increase of an entire 8 seconds!

By Wednesday, December 16th, the sun starts setting across the western horizon here in southeast Minnesota at 4:33:04 pm CST-- a whole minute earlier than last Friday! Now, as Meteorologist Huttner notes, while we're not talking about a huge amount of time, those ever-so-slight later sunsets WILL give us some brighter evenings here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes-- especially when the skies are clear, as they're supposed to be the next few days.

Now, if we could just do something about the lack of snow, right?!? I confess, I actually LIKE the snow and wish we'd have some for Christmas this year. All the bone-chilling cold, though? That I'm not a huge fan of, which is surprising, given that I've lived in two of the coldest cities in America. Keep scrolling to see if YOU'VE lived in one of these places... (and, I'm guessing you probably have!)

Listen to Curt St. John from 6 to 10 a.m. on Quick Country 96.5
and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 103.9 The Doc

BRRRR: The 15 Coldest Cities in America

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