Hello, sunshine: Summer solstice explained


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The longest day of the year is here.

Grand Rapids ushered in the summer solstice when dawn hit at 6:07 a.m. Thursday. At that moment, the sun was as far north as it gets during its yearly journey.


Grand Rapids soaks up 15 hours and 21 minutes of daylight during the summer solstice. That number drops to 14 hours 52 minutes a month later, and 12 hours and 12 minutes during the last day of summer, Sept. 21.

Summer solstice stands in stark contrast to its winter counterpart. On Dec. 21, Grand Rapids will welcome just nine hours of daylight.

While Grand Rapids only gets about six hours of complete darkness on June 21, the Arctic Circle never sees nightfall.


While daylight peaks on June 21, average temperatures hit their highest mark a month later. Grand Rapids’ average high on July 21 is 83 degrees, with an average low of 63 degrees.

As West Michigan creeps toward the autumnal equinox, the number of daylight hours drops off and temperatures eventually follow. By Sept. 21, the average high in Grand Rapids will be ten degrees lower than the summer solstice average of 81 degrees, and the average low is nine degrees cooler, at 51 degrees.


Looking ahead, after a potential string of hot and humid days in late June extending to the Fourth of July, West Michigan may be done with heat waves.

The National Weather Service outlook for June, July and August puts West Michigan’s temperatures right around or slightly below average. The heat will hold on out West and in the coastal states, which are expected to experience above average temperatures.

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