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Answer Man: Day or night, let’s get it right

February 3, 2019

Dear Answer Man: I saw the other day that the “overnight” low was 15 below, a temperature we met at 7 p.m. In forecaster’s eyes, when does night become day? — Sincerely, Timely Query

Dear Query: Here is what Clint Aegerter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in La Crosse, Wis. told me: “It depends on what you are looking at.”

Aegerter clarified a little more, saying that at the National Weather Service, or at least in his office, “tonight” means 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

To be even more specific, tonight would mean Saturday 6 p.m. to Sunday 6 a.m.

But to make things murky again, Aegerter said it also varied person-to-person.

Knowing the difference between night and day, afternoon and morning, evening and night isn’t only useful when it comes to the forecast, it can also be useful for time-specific greetings.

A poorly timed good afternoon when it is actually evening can get you laughed at in some foreign languages.

One fun fact (among many fun facts) about this extreme cold is that we were able to see two temperature systems meet, if only briefly like ice-covered ships passing in the night. Forty below zero Fahrenheit is the same as 40 below Celsius.

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