The winter solstice takes place today at 12:47 p.m. In other words, winter arrives just after lunch.
People living to the north who are blanketed in snow might believe winter already had started, but the solstice is the determinant. Though the snowstorm that saddled much of the East Coast missed the Augusta area, it did bring frosted windshields and frozen plants.
Today is the shortest day of the year, which might make the day even less welcome for those who haven't completed their Christmas shopping.
At 12:47 this afternoon, the Northern Hemisphere will be tilted away from the sun at its greatest angle. Though Earth actually is closer to the heat-giving sun in winter than in summer, the tilt away from direct sunlight chills our continent.
The good news? Days will begin to grow longer and nights shorter until summer.