We move the clocks as daylight saving starts on Sunday

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On Sunday, March 11, most U.S. and European residents will move their clocks forward one hour. Daylight saving time is the cycle that starts in the second week of March and ends in the first week of November. The main purpose of this time change is to provide more daylight hours. One big reason the clocks are returned to standard time in November is because children would be going to school in the dark as the sun would be rising later in the morning.

Many people enjoy the extra time in the evening. However, daylight saving time is not observed in Hawaii, Arizona, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Somoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Daylight saving time has always been controversial. Many argue that more daylight hours conserve energy and benefit sports, retail and other activities. But, some believe that the transition from moving the clocks twice a year has been linked to a higher risk of a heart attack, sleep disruption patterns, more car accidents and other unwanted events. The new time also causes problems for farming and other occupations relating to the sun.

The original idea of daylight saving time was from an entomologist (someone who performs the scientific study of insects), George Vernon Hudson. He suggested this concept to the Royal Society of New Zealand, but he proposed two hours instead of one.

Standard time and time zones in the U.S. and Canada were instituted by the railroads in November of 1883 to standardize their schedules. Daylight saving time actually began during World War I in 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 However, the law was so unpopular that it was repealed and only became a local option for a few states.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 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.

So, this upcoming Sunday, we will lose that extra hour of sleep, but at least it won’t get dark until around 7 p.m.

In terms of our local weather, Cliff and I are expecting a pattern with rain and snow for the rest of the month. So far, our seasonal snowfall total is a little over 85 inches, compared to the normal of 69.8 inches. We’ll likely end up around 90 inches of snow for the 2017-18 season. But, if we get a good storm with lots of cold air over the next few weeks, there a chance that our snow total could be near 100 inches. It’s amazing that we’ve had over 30 inches of the white stuff since Valentine’s Day.

We’re living in a time of very unusual and extreme weather patterns. There are so many records that are falling that Cliff and I can’t keep up with them. In the center of the country, Interstate 35 — which goes almost directly down the middle of the U.S. — had drought to the west and floods to the east.

In parts of Arkansas, more than 20 inches of rain fell in a week. The Northeast was hit with another “bomb cyclone” last week that left over 1 million people without power due to the heavy precipitation and big winds. Rivers are also overflowing their banks.

However, by extreme contrast, to the west of I-35, conditions are so dry that wheat farmers were seeing their crops literally ripped out of the fields by 70 mile per hour winds. Drought has returned to Southern California, which could make for another bad fire season.

At this time of year, when Pacific storms move into our region, the wind direction will, at least most of the time, give us a good indication on the type of precipitation that will fall. For example, when the winds come from the milder southwesterly direction, we’ll usually get more rain rather than snow in the lower elevations. To get the snow, we need to have the winds come from the colder northwesterly direction, especially in March and April.

Cliff and I still see above normal moisture through at least early to mid-April. Eventually, conditions will turn to the dry side, the other extreme here in the Inland Northwest.

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Contact Randy Mann at randy@longrangeweather.com

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