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Better find a way to cool down on year’s longest day

File Photo: A teen enjoys the waterpark at Carowinds on the summer solstice in 2013, the longest day of the year and the official start of the season.
File Photo: A teen enjoys the waterpark at Carowinds on the summer solstice in 2013, the longest day of the year and the official start of the season. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

About the time it takes to say “one, one-thousandth,” or slide a piece of bread into the toaster, or yawn, is about the length of added daylight we’ll see Sunday during the summer solstice — officially the longest day of the year.

By only a second.

So what’s the big deal, except that the sun will reach its northernmost position in the sky?

The sun on Sunday will rise at 6:09 a.m. and set at 8:41 p.m., about a second later than on Saturday and two seconds on Monday as daylight begins its slow, tedious descent until the winter solstice on Dec. 21, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Lauren Visin in Greer, S.C.

“It will be our longest day, but just barely,” Visin said. The transition point, she said, will be 12:39 p.m. “when daylight will start descending until winter.”

Many cultures celebrated the day: Native American tribes took part in sun dances. Some European countries lit bonfires to ward off evil spirits as the sun began its southward turn. In Scandinavia, the solstice, or Midsummer, is a big holiday, a day spent singing, drinking vodka, eating herring and dancing.

In America, it is mostly the official start to summer and hardly observed – though in Greensboro, the city held its annual solstice festival Saturday in its arboretum.

Mainly, it’s a day to be outside and Sunday there’ll be little chance of rain, Visin said. But it’s going to be hot – a predicted 94 degrees.

So a tip on surviving the year’s longest day: Find a pool or stay inside.

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