December 2, 2021

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Is It Winter Yet? You Tell Us.

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We at FiveThirtyEight love a good debate, but few things have created such discord as our discussion about when fall officially begins. Turns out, it’s a contentious issue no matter whom you ask. There are the astronomical dates: the autumnal and spring equinoxes and the winter and summer solstices. For example, the autumnal equinox, which fell on Sept. 22 this year, technically signals the start of fall. Still, many meteorologists consider the season to start on Sept. 1.

So, we want your help to solve this conundrum. Does fall start only when you can get your hands on a pumpkin spice latte? Does winter wait for the solstice? Is the end of school the unofficial start of summer? Answer our very unscientific survey below to help us learn more about where people place the seasons on the calendar. We’ll graph the data and end this debate once and for all (or at least until climate change renders the results moot).

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