By Teri Weiss
Special to The Stuttgart Citizen
Each year in western Europe on March 20 (or 21) at 5:15 p.m. the winter season officially comes to an end in the Northern Hemisphere.
The spring equinox, also called March or vernal equinox, marks the astronomical first day of spring. The spring equinox always occurs on either March 20 or 21.
The word equinox comes from Latin words which means “equal night”—aequus (equal) and nox (night). On the equinox, when the sun’s path is directly over the equator, the length of day and night is nearly equal in all parts of the world – that is, 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.
Does that mean that Spring is really here, in the Stuttgart area, at last!?
Optimists may hope that with the arrival of spring there will be an end to cold winter weather. That is simply not always so. As this year, and even though Germany had a fairly mild winter, unseasonably Arctic temperatures, snow and ice can linger well into April.
Officially, meteorological and calendrical spring arrival may be on record, but the actual weather situation is not playing along. The Deutscher Wetter Dienst DWD (German weather service) projects occasional snowfall or snow/rain, with temperatures between minus 1 and plus 5 degrees Celsius on March 20.
And it’ll be rather slow going toward balmy the next fourteen days with only slight improvement, and more or less “classic April weather” for Easter.
So bundle up the next two weeks – keep smiling and warm. With the equinox, start to enjoy the increasing daylight hours, the earlier dawns and later dusks, and perhaps even some sunshine in between!