Winter solstice: days will be getting longer in WNY

snow on evergreen in Amherst NY
This photo was taken in February this year when the days were getting longer and sunnier. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

Surprise! Tomorrow is the first day of winter.

Yes, Western New York has snow on the ground, and parts of Western New York got 80 inches of snow in November, but that’s just weather.

We’re talking about how close–or far away– Western New York is to the sun.

As the Earth spins on its axis, the Northern Hemisphere gets closer or farther away from the sun. When the Northern Hemisphere is at its farthest point, we have our shortest day of the year, called the winter solstice.

This year, the winter solstice will be on Dec. 21. In Buffalo, the day will be just 9 hours, 1 minute and 1 second long, which is 3 seconds shorter than today. In Jamestown, which is farther south than Buffalo, the day will be 9 hours, 6 minutes and 19 seconds long, which will be 2 seconds shorter than today. Find your city at

After tomorrow, the days start getting longer again. Hurray! While I enjoy winter weather, the long, dark nights get me down. Knowing that the days are getting longer makes me happy.

And there’s more to lift our spirits!

The winter solstice is getting longer every century, according to Not a lot longer, maybe 8 seconds longer in 100 years, but it’s still a comforting thought. (See more here.)

I leave you with that thought for now; this is my last issue of 2022. I’ll be back on Jan. 17 with more more gardening news and tips for Western New York.

I wish you a happy New Year!

6 Comments on “Winter solstice: days will be getting longer in WNY

  1. Did you know that the earth is closest to the sun about 2 weeks after the solstice? We are closest to the sun Jan 4, 2023

    It’s not our closeness that causes the solstice but the angle of the sun’s rays due to the 23° angle of our axis.

  2. Yes, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, Connie! Enjoy your time off.
    Thanks for doing your newsletter.

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