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Spokane will see sunsets before 4 p.m. starting in December

Spokane and North Idaho see some of the earliest sunsets in the U.S. excluding Alaska.
Credit: Lois Koltes
Credit: Lois Koltes

SPOKANE, Wash. — It's incredible (and a little bit depressing) to see the skies get so dark so quickly in Spokane in November.

And it doesn't get any better for the rest of the fall.

Spokane and areas of the Inland Northwest, particularly North Idaho, see some of the earliest sunsets in the nation, excluding Alaska. Our combination of being far north in latitude and far east in our time zone means that the sun drops below the western horizon much earlier than anywhere else in the Contiguous U.S. during the fall and winter.

In Spokane, the last 4 p.m. sunset is on Nov. 30. From then, Spokane will not see a sunset at or after 4 p.m. until Dec. 20.

The earliest sunset, which occurs from Dec. 8-12 is 3:57 p.m. It's not on the winter solstice because of Earth's elliptical orbit.

Bonners Ferry's earliest sunset is 3:49 p.m.

Credit: KREM 2 Weather

The only other US states that see pre-4 p.m. sunsets in December is Maine and Alaska.

Credit: Brian Brettschneider

The farthest north U.S. city, Barrow, Alaska, which is located north of the Arctic Circle saw its final sunset of the year on Nov. 18. The next sunrise isn't until Jan. 22. That's 65 straight days of no sunlight.