Winter Solstice: Sleet, wintry mix for shortest day of the year


Sunday marks the first day of winter – and the shortest day of the year.

Although meteorological winter is almost a month in – and Minnesotans have been enduring winter weather for several weeks now – winter officially begins at 5:03 p.m. Sunday with the Winter Solstice.

The Winter Solstice occurs when the sun is directly above the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere – its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees, according to It's the longest night of the year for people in the Northern Hemisphere.

The good news is for the next six months the days will gradually get longer as the the Northern Hemisphere begins to tilt back toward the sun, the Washington Post reports.

And with the winter solstice comes some winter weather for Minnesotans.

People in the metro saw a wintry mix Sunday morning and damp conditions are expected to continue throughout the day, but won't likely produce much accumulation in the metro.

However, one to three inches of snow is likely across west central Wisconsin Sunday and a storm system will affect the Twin Cities area Monday into Tuesday night, the National Weather Service says.

An area of low pressure is expected to swoop through the region, bringing some rain and snow. The rain will likely change over to mostly snow by Monday night, with several inches possible across central Minnesota into west central Wisconsin by late Tuesday, the weather service notes.

Christmas forecast

That same area of low pressure gets stalled out over the Great Lakes through the remainder of next week.

What does that mean? Well, skies are going to be mainly cloudy with several chances of light snow combined with cooling temperatures. No major snowstorms are forecast to hamper travel plans before or on Christmas Day in Minnesota.

So you and the family getting to grandma’s should not be a problem – and Mr. Claus finding your chimney shouldn’t be too tough either.

However, if you're traveling to the East Coast, you may hit a snag with the weather on Christmas Eve, AccuWeather says. A winter storm is threatening two dozen states from Chicago to Boston Tuesday.

The storm is expected to bring strong winds, heavy snow, rain, thunderstorms and fog from the Midwest to the Northeast on Christmas Eve, which will likely create some major delays on the roads at at airports, AccuWeather notes.

Next Up

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2

Minnesota confirms America's 1st case of Brazil P.1 COVID strain

The strain was found in a Twin Cities metro resident who recently traveled to Brazil.


Gov. Walz announces education plan aimed at eliminating disparities

The plan covers seven categories, including closing the racial education gap and improving opportunities in rural Minnesota

Tax forms

Charges: Otsego cleaning business underreported sales

An Otsego woman is accused of owing more than $20,500 in sales tax, penalties and interest.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Walz gives vaccine providers 3-day, 7-day deadlines to use doses

Those that don't use their allocation will be given less in the future.


Border officers seize more than $550K in counterfeit designer goods

The shipments of fake goods were seized on Jan. 22.

Landfill plastic bags

4 Twin Cities landfills seek to expand capacity

This comes as the area's waste-to-energy facilities are operating at capacity.

Marcus Carr

3 of 10 finalists for NCAA's top point guard award have MN ties

Not a bad way to represent the State of... Basketball?

Justice, court

Minnesota grants unconditional pardon to grandmother facing deportation

Gov. Tim Walz says it's the first full pardon granted by the state in 35 years.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota changes vaccine appointment process, here's what to know

Walz also announced plans for a mass vaccination event at Xcel Energy Center.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, Jan. 25

The latest figures from MDH have been released.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota health leaders say state's vaccine progress better than figures suggest

Minnesota is lagging behind national vaccination rates, but MDH leaders say this is because it's holding 2nd doses in reserve.


Snow? Sleet? Slop? Maybe all of the above

The brunt of our Tuesday-Wednesday storm is pointed at north central Minnesota, which means the Brainerd Lakes area could be looking at 15 inches of snow. As for the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota, the storm may be more of a washout -- as in rainwater washing away much of whatever snow falls. Click on the headline for a look at who's predicting what for the metro area.