CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Winter officially began just before 11:00 Tuesday morning. Technically that’s called the winter solstice, but what does that mean?

It’s the day with the shortest amount of daylight hours in the northern hemisphere when the Earth is tilted away from the sun so that the center of the sun is directly above the tropic of Capricorn. For the arctic circle, on Tuesday that location had zero hours of daylight, and for the Antarctic circle, 24 hours of sunlight.

In western Massachusetts, we had just about 9 hours, 6 minutes and 18 seconds of daylight. That means after Tuesday, our days start getting longer again.

  • Tuesday’s sunrise was at 7:15 a.m.
  • Tuesday’s sunset was 4:21 p.m.

Weather wise, NOAA is predicting warmer-than-normal temperatures overall the next few months, and near-normal precipitation. That includes both rain and the liquid equivalent of snow.