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Record warm temperatures and the possibility of severe weather are making headlines but here is another bit of weather news: it will be lighter later in the evening starting this week in Minnesota.

I'd always heard that the shortest day of the year is still ahead of us-- December 21st, when winter 'officially' begins, which is also known as the winter solstice. And while that's still true, here in Minnesota this year, we'll actually start to see sunsets occurring LATER in the afternoon even BEFORE December 21st.

Wait, what's that?!? Well, it's a quirk of science, which according to this explanation from MPR Chief Meteorologist Paul Huttner (via TimeAndDate.com), is due mainly to the fact that our earth's orbit isn't a perfect elliptical orbit as it travels around the sun each day. As a result, each solar day isn't exactly 24 hours long-- it varies.

So, if you carry the two and try to digest the other science, this means that our sunsets will start occurring later each evening here in Rochester even BEFORE the winter solstice on December 21st. Which is good news, right?

In fact, according to TimeAndDate.com, Rochester's earliest sunset in 2021 already happened Thursday, December 9th, when the sun started setting at 4:33:20 pm CST. By Friday, December 10th sunset didn't happen until 4:33:21 pm CST-- an increase of a whole second!

And by Thursday, December 16th, the sun will start setting across the western horizon here in southeast Minnesota at 4:34:24 pm CST-- nearly an entire minute earlier than last Friday! Now we're not talking about a huge amount of time, but those ever-so-slightly later sunsets WILL give us some brighter evenings here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes in the next few days.

So while it will start to get lighter later, the cold weather over the next few months will still be a thing. Mainly because there are a lot of familiar cities on this list of the Coldest Cities in America. Keep scrolling to see how many you recognize!

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BRRRR: The 15 Coldest Cities in America

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