Butler County Times Gazette
  • 10 things to know about spring

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  • Its as if weve been waiting forever. And maybe, we have been.
    Spring couldnt come any sooner for many who are sick of the polar vortexes and other buzz words of this harsh winter that saw record snowfalls and deep chills in some areas of the country, and atypical school and road shutdowns in others.
    Officially, the spring season starts March 20. Whether or not itll actually feel like it a couple of weeks from now well just have to keep waiting.
    In the meantime, here are 10 things to know about spring:
    1.This year's seasonbegins March 20, 2014.
    The timing varies according to local climate, as well as culture and customs. In the Northern Hemisphere, it begins on March 20 this year, in Eastern Standard Time. It can vary in other time zones.
    2. It stands for rebirth.
    Birds chirping, flowers blooming, sun shining all that good stuff of the season points to some key terms associated with spring, such as rebirth, renewal and regrowth. Get happy.
    3. The first day of spring is called the spring equinox.
    On the first day of spring and thereafter, days are close to 12 hours long and we get more daylight as the season progresses. Because the axis of the Earth is increasing its tilt toward the sun, the length of daylight increases for that hemisphere. The first day of spring also is referred to as the vernal equinox.
    4. The equinox is special.
    The fall and spring equinoxes are the only two times during the year when the sun rises due east and sets due west, National Geographic reports. The equinoxes also are the only days of the year when a person standing on the Equator can see the sun passing directly overhead.
    5. It's not spring everywhere.
    This might be a no-brainer, butnot all countries experience the same seasonsduring the year. Some places also don't have temperate climates like ours. In Australia, for example, it's winter from June 1 to Aug. 1because of its location in the Southern Hemisphere.Although winters generally aren't as harsh,Australiastillexperiences a variety of climates because of its size.
    6. It got its name from plants.
    Beginning in the 14th century, "spring" became known as the season because of what plants were doing they started the trend of "springing forth" or "springing forward" with new growth. It was called "springing time," then shortened to "spring-time" a century later. In the 16th century, the "time" finally was dropped to keep things simple.
    7. But its first name was Lent.
    This was springs Old English name. And Lent, meaning spring, actually came first before the name for the traditional religious observance was adopted. Lent derives from the Germanic root for "long" because of the lengthening of days during the season, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary.
    Page 2 of 2 - 8. Oh, the floods.
    Flooding is most common during spring because of snowmelt from mountainous areas, which is accelerated by warm rains. The weather also gets a bit funky because of warm air from the lower latitudes and cold air from the polar regions duking it out to see who makes a bigger splash.
    9. In like a lion, out like a ... flower.
    You know the lore: March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb. What about those April showers bringing May flowers? These sayings have been proven to be false, with about as much accuracy as a Groundhog Day prognostication (read: just for fun).
    10. Six months of sunlight?
    According to National Geographic, ifyou happen to be living in the North Pole on the first day of spring, you'll see the sun skimming across the horizon to begin six months of uninterrupted daylight. Six months.
    How's that for a polar vortex?

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