Brighter days: 11 hours of daylight now, gaining 3 minutes per day

Daylight is rapidly increasing as we head toward March

Lake Minnetonka winter sunset
Lake Minnetonka winter sunset
Huttner, Paul

Winter weather may not be over yet for Minnesota. But meteorological spring is just four days away.

The three coldest months of the year — December to February — on average are almost behind us now. And the darkest four months of the year are in the rear-view mirror.

Minnesota is now gaining daylight at a rate of three minutes per day. And you’re noticing those later sunset time and brighter evenings. Sunset in the Twin Cities occurs at 6 p.m. Saturday. We’ve now reached 11 hours of daylight. You can see the details in this graphic from

February solar data for Minneapolis
February solar data for Minneapolis

Daylight reaches 12 hours in the Twin Cities on March 17. We peak at 15 hours and 36 minutes of daylight in late June at the summer solstice.

613 seasons_solstice_equinox_NASA

The higher sun angle is capable of melting snow now even on days where temperatures hover around freezing.

And as temperatures hit the 40s and 50s in the next few weeks, snow cover will have a very difficult time hanging around. Expect to see a lot more bare ground in the next two weeks unless we get an unexpected snow event.

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