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Weather Talk: November light is a strange light

At the bottom of the year, in late November and December, a sunny day is a kind of a special treat.

For one thing, sunny days are relatively rare in our climate this time of year. Secondly, with nights that are 16 hours long, sunlight is just hard to come by.

When there is a sunny day, notice how the sun rises in the southeast and then follows a path along the southern sky before setting in the southwest, never getting very high in the sky during the day. Shadows are long even at noon. Lit from the side, trees and houses in the neighborhood literally glow in their southern exposures.

Except for the notable absence of warmth, the effect is like a long summer evening that lasts all day.

Black-capped chickadees and nuthatches flying back and forth from a wooden fence to their feeders create bizarre, stretched out, flying shadow patterns to the north.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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