First Alert Weather In-Depth: Is it time to tan?

Weather In-Depth

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The weather in Rochester has been beautiful over the past few weeks with numerous record high temperatures and plenty of sunny days. A lot of folks have taken advantage of the nice weather and have spent a lot of time outdoors. With that said, when is it time to start monitoring the UV Index, and when can we get our tan on?

Yes, it has been very sunny for the most part over the past few weeks, but the angle at which the sun is currently at is mitigating our chances to get a tan. Why is that? In order for the suns UV rays to start affecting our bodies the sun angle needs to be at 50 degrees or greater. This is because of the distance the UV rays take when the sun angle is either less than or greater than 50 degrees. When the sun angle is less than 50 degrees, the distance of the rays from the sun to Earth is longer than when the sun angle is greater. The longer the distance, the better chance to atmosphere on Earth has to filter out the UV rays by scattering and reflecting those rays. This is why we as meteorologists don’t talk much about the UV index in the Winter for our area.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get sunburn or a tan in the Winter, but it would take a very long time to get one as opposed to the Summer. In the Summer the sun is at a higher angle and the distance of the UV rays to Earth is shorter and the atmosphere doesn’t do as good a job at filtering them. With that said, the current sun angle in Rochester is about 45 degrees. We will not hit a sun angle of 50 degrees until March 28th. Our sun angle will then get to 60 degrees on April 24, 70 degrees on June 11, and the highest angle of 70.3 degrees on June 17. With that said, tanning season is nearby, but not here just yet!