First day of spring officially arrives early Monday

It's the day warm weather fans have been waiting months for: Monday is the first day of spring!

Spring officially arrives at 6:28 a.m. EDT (3:28 a.m. PDT) Monday, when the sun will be directly over the equator, marking the spring (aka vernal) equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere. For the folks down under in the Southern Hemisphere, it will be the first day of autumn.

The word equinox is derived from two Latin words: aequus (equal) and nox (night), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It's one of two days out of the year — the other being the autumnal equinox in September — when the Earth's axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun, resulting in a "nearly" equal amount of daylight and darkness almost everywhere on Earth.

It's also one of only two days each year that almost every spot on Earth — except the poles — experiences a sunrise at due East and a sunset at due West.

As for when the warm weather will finally be here to stay, the official forecast for April through June from the Climate Prediction Center calls for warmer-than-average temperatures for almost the entire nation, including Alaska.

© 2017 USA TODAY


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