Seattle is gearing up for the shortest day of the year as the winter solstice arrives, offering a mere eight hours, 25 minutes, and 25 seconds of daylight on Thursday. This day marks the peak of winter, where the northern hemisphere leans about 23 degrees away from the sun, resulting in the least amount of daylight.

Despite being the official start of winter, Seattle has already experienced wintry weather this month. As the solstice passes, the days will gradually begin lengthening, albeit with minimal increments in additional daylight. However, looking ahead to June 20, the summer solstice promises Seattle nearly 16 hours of daylight, a stark contrast to the current brevity.

In the interim, Seattleites can expect sunset before 4:30 p.m. for the rest of December. The commencement of the shortest day may be accompanied by dense fog in the city, followed by dry and relatively fair conditions, thanks to high-pressure systems dominating the weather pattern, as mentioned by Steve Reedy, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Seattle.

However, changes are on the horizon, with expectations of up to 1 1/2 inches of rainfall in lowland areas and about 0.75 inches along the coast on Friday. The snow levels in the mountains are set to rapidly decrease below pass elevation by Friday afternoon, leading to snowfall. Those planning travel across the state are advised to stay updated on weather forecasts for any possible disruptions.

Winter’s arrival with the solstice brings a brief spell of darkness and climatic shifts, but it also sets the stage for nature’s gradual return toward longer, sunnier days in the coming months.