Happy winter! We officially entered the winter season at 9:59 A.M. CST on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, and will remain in the coldest of the four seasons until 10:32 A.M. CDT on Sunday, March 20, 2022.

The winter solstice is also the “shortest day of the year” for the northern hemisphere. Why? It is the tilt of the Earth’s axis at an angle of 23.5°. This tilt is responsible for our seasons.

When the north pole is tilted away from the sun, the angle causes us to receive less direct sunlight. With less direct sunlight, we don’t have as much energy to heat the surface of the Earth, causing a cooling effect and a drop in temperature in the winter.

In the summer, the north pole is tilted towards the sun so the northern hemisphere receives more direct sunlight.

Meteorological Winter vs. Astronomical Winter

Meteorological seasons are slightly different from the traditional astronomical seasons we are all used to. Instead of being based on the Earth’s position relative to the sun, meteorological seasons use climatology.

The start and end dates for the astronomical seasons can vary from year to year and this can impact seasonal records. To keep seasonal records as consistent as possible, meteorologists define meteorological seasons as the following:

  • Winter = December 1 -> February 28/29
  • Spring = March 1 -> May 31
  • Summer = June 1 -> August 31
  • Fall/Autumn = September 1 -> November 30

What are we expecting for the winter season in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley? Check out our Winter 2021-2022 outlook below!

Be sure to stay up to date with the forecast throughout the winter months with your NWA Weather Authority team!