Stockholm, Sweden, yet to see one hour of sunlight in December

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Winter days are typically short in Scandinavia, but Stockholm has been unusually dark this December, yet to log a single hour of sunlight thus far, Sweden’s meteorological institute said Thursday.

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At this time of year the sun only rises above the horizon for about six hours a day in the Swedish capital, but this month -- already bleak as the country battles a sharp surge of COVID-19 infections -- has been especially gloomy.

“You almost don’t wake up this time of year because it’s dark all the time and gray,” 67-year-old Isabella Sandstrom told AFP on the streets of Stockholm.

On Thursday, the sun rose in the capital at 8:33am and set again at 2:48pm, though it was hidden behind cloud cover all day.

“It’s been a cloudy start to December to say the least,” Linus Karlsson, meteorologist at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), told AFP.

Karlsson noted that only 10 days of the month had passed so far, and that while the forecast for the coming week was more gloomy weather, there was still a chance for things to brighten up.

But everything’s relative: on average, Stockholm registers just 33 hours of sunlight in December, or about an hour a day.

There are historical examples of Stockholm going through the whole month without a glimpse of the sun, but the last time that happened was in 1934.

Meanwhile, the northern city of Kiruna has not seen the sun this December either -- and as it lies north of the polar circle, it’s now out of luck.

In Kiruna, the sun set on Thursday at 11:41 am (1041 GMT) “and will remain under the horizon for the rest of 2020,” Karlsson said.

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