Once again, we welcome the advent of winter amid the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic saga. Technically winter arrives in the Northern Hemisphere at 10:58 a.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021.

The first day of winter is also the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year. It's also known as the Longest Night. OK, so, yes, it's still 24 hours but fewer of them have daylight. 🙂

Locally The Castle in Marietta is offering a both a live and a virtual Solstice Watch from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. You need to register for the Zoom webinar virtual ticket. Instructions and more details are available here. The virtual ticket suggests a minimum donation of $5 but more $$ can be added. [because pandemic].

One function of the large earthwork complexes, such as the one found at Marietta, was to track the passage of seasons through astronomical observations. Aligned along the parallel walls of “Sacra Via” is the winter solstice sunset. Join The Castle’s archaeologist Wes Clarke Tuesday, Dec. 21, at 4 p.m. for this year’s solstice sunset watch at Sacra Via Park either in person or virtually. During this program, Wes will discuss the astronomical alignments of Marietta’s mound structures.

This offering is free. Donations are encouraged.

Program takes place at Sacra Via Park (between Third and Second Streets.) Rain or Shine.

For continued safety of attendees:

They are following all CDC, Ohio Department of Health, and Marietta/ Belpre Health Department guidelines:

Masks are not required, but the CDC still recommends their use for those who are not fully vaccinated.
At least six-foot social distancing between unfamiliar persons or groups is also suggested.
Our tour guide will use an enhanced speaker system to ensure adequate audio levels and social distancing.

Note: Protocols and guidelines are subject to change. Changes will be announced and ticketed guests informed at the earliest convenience.

Beyond that, we're looking at the usual [we hope] winter hazards -- ice, snow, wind, cold, etc. So lets all be careful out there!

The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts a winter season of Brrrrrrr in this area with colder than normal temperatures, below-normal precipitation but above-normal snowfall. They say the coldest periods will occur mid-December through January. The snowiest periods will arrive in mid-December, early and mid-January, then mid- to late February.

Worried about an upcoming winter weather event? Need to make sure you've got everything under control? There's plenty of good information available on line. Below are a handful of links:

Let's start with the National Weather Service.

Department of Homeland Security's site covers snowstorms & extreme cold.

OSHA covers how to plan, equip, train for winter weather. Information is good for individuals as well as businesses.

The CDC covers preparation to stay safe and healthy in winter.

Thanks to the Shirley Volunteer Fire Department and Earl Yost for use of their photos.