Big weather changes coming with return to Standard Time

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Tomorrow is Halloween, and the weather will be good for the area “trick-or-treaters.” A big ridge of high pressure will keep our area dry and mild before conditions change in the next 2-3 days.

Our “full moon” cycle change starting late this week is shaping up to bring us rain and, as it looks right now, our first measurable snow of the season to the lower elevations. Cliff and I believe that November will be wetter and cooler than normal as the Gulf of Alaska has become very active with storms in recent weeks. The average precipitation in Coeur d’Alene for November is 3.07 inches with normal snowfall at 8.7 inches.

From the article last week, Cliff and I are predicting around 85 to 90 inches of snow for the Coeur d’Alene area during the 2017-18 season. Our normal is 69.8 inches. The above normal prediction is based partly on the increased chances of a new La Nina, the abnormal cooling of sea-surface temperatures along the Equatorial regions.

Although this Halloween will be dry, back in 1971, Coeur d’Alene reported 3 inches of snow for Oct. 31. The warmest Halloween was in 1938 with a high of 72 degrees. Three years earlier, in 1935, the low dropped to 2 degrees. The wettest Halloween was in 1983 as 1.14 inches of rain fell.

There have been other instances of “unusual” weather on Halloween. According to information from The Weather Channel and the National Weather Summary, 87 pioneers were trapped by early 5-foot snowfalls in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was known as the “Donner Pass Tragedy.”

On Oct. 31, 1950, normally chilly Minneapolis reported a high of 83 degrees, the warmest for so late in the season. Fort Lauderdale had a whopping 13.81 inches of rain on that date. Heavy rains in southern California of over 3 inches in places resulted in many mudslides in 1987.

It was a day of extremes on Oct. 31, 1988. There were 22 cities in the Northeast that reported record lows for the date. By contrast, record highs were felt in the southwestern U.S. as Phoenix had a high of 96 degrees.

In 1989, Halloween was very wet in New England with more than inch of rain. The Great Lakes area reported a big drop in temperatures from an invasion of cold air. Wind chills were below zero with over 6 inches of snow to the higher elevations in Colorado.

We also can’t forget the time change this upcoming Sunday. On November 5, most U.S. and European residents will move their clocks back one hour to Standard Time. I’m assuming that many of us will enjoy the extra hour of sleep. On the flip side, however, it will be getting dark even earlier thanks to the time change. And, our daylight hours will continue to decrease as we head toward the Winter Solstice, the first day of winter, on December 21.

We’ll have to wait until the second week of March before returning to Daylight Saving Time. One big reason the clocks are returned to Standard Time in November is to provide school children with more light. Without the time change, they would be going to their classes in the dark as the sun would be rising later in the morning.

More than 60 percent of the countries in the world stay on Standard Time throughout the year. Daylight Saving Time is not observed in Hawaii, Arizona, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

Standard time and time zones in the U.S. and Canada was instituted by the railroads in November of 1883 to standardize their schedules. Daylight Saving Time actually began in Europe during World War I, in 1916 with hopes it would save energy. In the U.S., a law for this time change went into effect in March of 1918. However, the law was so unpopular that it was repealed and only became a local option for a few states.

During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted a “War Time,” from February 1942 to September 1945, which was a year-round Daylight Saving Time. From 1945 to 1966, there were no federal laws associated with Daylight Saving Time, so states and local governments were free to choose on whether to participate in this practice of changing their clocks in the spring.

Due to the inconsistencies of U.S. time, Congress decided to end the confusion of Daylight Saving Time in 1966 by establishing a uniform system. In 1986, legislation was enacted to move the clocks forward on the first Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday in October. In 2005, the Energy Policy Act extended Daylight Saving Time to the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday in November.

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Contact Randy Mann at randy@longrangeweather.com

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