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Though it won’t be the shortest day, Tuesday will be the earliest sunset of the year

The sunset was colorful Monday in Chelsea just after 4 p.m. Tuesday will be the earliest sunset of the year, though not the day with the shortest amount of daylight.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

We are in a chilly pattern for the first half of this week, with temperatures staying below average into early Wednesday. This cold air is going to give an opportunity for some ocean effect snow showers across southeastern Massachusetts and parts of the Cape and Islands.

An area of low pressure will pass off the mid-Atlantic coast during Monday night and Tuesday. This storm will stay far enough away so that it will not create any major situation. However the flow around the storm will force the cold air over the relatively warm ocean waters and deposit several snow showers in the aforementioned areas.


Snow showers, shown in blue, will rotate across Cape Cod Tuesday.COD Weather (Custom credit)

The best timing for the snow showers will be early Tuesday, and it’s not going to be surprising to see anywhere from a coating up to an inch of snow. I don’t think we’ll see any snow showers in Greater Boston, nor will there be any snow showers further north and west, but it will be quite cold.

Some light snow is likely Tuesday over southeastern Massachusetts and parts of Cape Cod.NOAA (Custom credit)

Although only a couple of inches of snow fell just west of the coastline, it still hasn’t melted and will likely stick around for another couple of days. If you have walked on the snow, you realize that it’s really very icy and the density of it makes it very difficult to melt until temperatures get mild. The sun is just so weak this time of year, with only around nine hours of daylight, and that daylight is not intense.

There was some snow cover in much of New England as of early Monday.NOAA (Custom credit)

There is warmer air coming later this week as we round the daylight corner on one end of the day. The sun will set in Boston at 4:11 and 38 seconds on Tuesday, and that is the absolute earliest sunset of the year. We will slowly start to gain a few seconds each day in the afternoon, but because we’re losing more time in the morning, the length of daylight between sunrise and sunset will continue to shrink until the 21st of December. While darkness is still increasing, at least one end of the day is getting a little bit better.


Sunrise and sunset are asynchronous over the course of the year and don’t change equally. This means although the shortest amount of overall daylight is Dec. 21, that day is neither the latest sunrise nor the earliest sunset.

The earliest sunset this year is Tuesday, Dec. 8.timeanddate.com (Custom credit)

Warmer air will arrive Thursday and Friday, with temperature readings getting into the 40s; that will soften the snow and you’ll definitely notice it beginning to disappear quickly. I expect most of the snow to be gone by the weekend, and even interior areas, which saw up to a foot, will see the snowpack greatly diminish.

Follow Dave Epstein @growingwisdom.