Winter haters rewarded with earliest spring since 1896, snow in western Virginia

By Lynn R. Mitchell

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By Lynn R. Mitchell

For those who don’t like winter, rejoice! It silently crept in just past midnight, the earliest spring in 120 years. It’s the way they figure these things, and it’s only by hours that makes it the earliest in so long, but the method is fascinating, nonetheless:

The reason why goes back to Pope Gregory XIII, who created the Gregorian calendar in 1582, according to the website EarthSky. Each year on Earth lasts 365.242 days, and the existing calendar in Gregory’s time accounted for this fraction of a day by having most years be 365 days long, with leap years every four years, where were 366 days long.

But under this system, with one extra day every four years, the average length of a year was 365.25 days — still a hair longer than the actual length of a year.

And so Pope Gregory XIII declared that years ending in “00” should not be leap years unless they’re also divisible by 400, EarthSky reported. That means that the year 2000 was a leap year, but the years 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not, and 2100 won’t be either.

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Stick around … spring 2020 will happen on March 19. Now that’s early.

In the Shenandoah Valley, a spring snow welcomed the season change. While not unusual for the western part of Virginia, it was an ironic reminder that Mother Nature is still in charge no matter how the calculations come up.

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Happy spring!

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
March 19, 2016

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One thought on “Winter haters rewarded with earliest spring since 1896, snow in western Virginia

  1. only humans would try and measure time.

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