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The Rock Hill area will have more than 14 hours of sunlight today. Can you guess why?

The Rock Hill area will have more than 14 hours of sunlight today.
The Rock Hill area will have more than 14 hours of sunlight today.

Go ahead and complain about the heat and humidity. Today it’s officially summer.

The summer solstice arrived at 6:07 a.m., marking the time when the earth’s Northern Hemisphere was tilted most toward the sun. That made it the first day of summer – and the day with the most hours of daylight north of the equator.

In the Rock Hill area, that means today you'll have 14 hours 32 minutes of daylight. Sunrise was 6:09 a.m. and sunset comes at 8:41 p.m. That’s 4¾ more hours of daylight than on Dec. 21, the first day of winter.

The farther north you go, the more daylight on the first day of summer. In Fairbanks, Alaska, it meant sunrise at 2:57 a.m. and sunset at 12:47 a.m. Friday.

Of course, summer weather arrived in Rock Hill weeks ago. Thursday is the eighth straight day of high temperatures in the 90s, with highs hitting 94 degrees the past three days.

There’s more to come.

On average, the Rock Hill area gets about 45 days a year with highs of 90 or hotter. Thursday would mark the 11th such day in 2018.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service predict a big dose of 90s this summer. The official government forecast is for above-average temperatures and above-average precipitation in the Carolinas.

It’s not unanimous, however. Forecasters at the Weather Channel predicted a warmer-than-average June (they got that one right) but cooler-than-average temperatures for July and August.

The big variable, forecasters say, is the strength of a strong high pressure system that is expected to bring a very hot summer to the southern Plains and Texas. If that system expands, it could affect the Carolinas with hot, dry conditions. The official forecast, however, is for the heat to expand into the Rock Hill area only occasionally.

In the short term, National Weather Service forecasters say the heat wave will relent a bit over the next few days. High temperatures are predicted to drop a few degrees through Saturday. At the same time, the chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms is forecast to increase.

Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle

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