Today, June 21, is the northern hemisphere’s summer solstice, meaning the sun will reach its northernmost point. Summer solstice marks the start of summer and is the longest day of the year.
Yet on the eve of the summer solstice, snow fell on the mountains of Colorado. A storm that prompted a tornado watch across Nebraska and Kansas yesterday also left 2 to 4 inches of snow in the Rocky Mountains, weather service meteorologist Joe Ramey said.
“It is unusual,” Ramey said. “Here it is the last day of spring.”
A winter storm advisory had been posted in the mountains of Colorado above 10,000 feet until 6 p.m. local time, and at least one tornado was reported in Kansas, according to the weather service.
Ramey said the lingering effects of the La Nina ocean cooling are still playing havoc with local weather patterns. Normally at this time of year the daytime high temperature in Grand Junction, at an altitude of almost 4,600 feet, is 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius), according to the weather service. Yesterday it was 59, Ramey said.
La Ninas can bring more rain and stormy conditions to the northern U.S., while drying out the southern half of the country. The most recent La Nina was declared over earlier this month by the U.S. Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland.
In other news, here is how people in warmer parts of the world celebrate the summer solstice:
Mayans in El Salvador pray at a ceremony in honor of the summer solstice
Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration