Winter is one of the four seasons of temperate zones. It is the season with the shortest days and the lowest average temperatures. It has colder weather and, especially in the higher latitudes or altitudes, snow and ice. The coldest average temperatures of the season are typically experienced in January in the Northern Hemisphere and in July in the Southern Hemisphere. Astronomically, winter starts with the winter solstice and ends with the vernal equinox, though in popular usage the word "winter" is more often defined by cold weather. By this definition it would be approximated by the calendar months of June, July, and August in the Southern Hemisphere and December, January, and February in the Northern Hemisphere. By still another definition, the seasons are not seen as quarters of the year, but as elastic periods in a particular place determined by the weather. When it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere faces the Sun more directly and thus experiences warmer temperatures than the Northern Hemisphere. Conversely, winter in the Southern Hemisphere occurs when the Northern hemisphere is tilted more toward the Sun. From the perspective of an observer on the Earth, the winter Sun has a lower maximum altitude in the sky than the summer Sun.
The Christmas 1994 nor'easter was an intense macro-scale cyclone along the East Coast of the United States and Atlantic Canada. It developed from an area of low pressure in the southeast Gulf of Mexico near the Florida Keys, and moved across the state of Florida. As it entered the warm waters of the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean, it began to rapidly intensify, exhibiting signs of tropical development, including the formation of an eye. It attained a pressure of 970 millibars on December 23 and 24, and after moving northward, it came ashore near New York City on Christmas Eve. Due to the uncertain nature of the storm, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) did not classify it as a tropical cyclone. The U.S. East Coast was affected by high winds, minor coastal flooding, and beach erosion. New York State and New England bore the brunt of the storm; damage was extensive on Long Island and throughout southeastern New York. In Connecticut, 130,000 households lost electric power during the storm. Widespread damage and power outages were also observed throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where the storm generated 30-foot (9.1 m) waves along the coast.
Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall. We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the parking lot until we see a shopper emerge from the mall, then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who 2,000 years ago followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space.