On Sunday most U.S. and European residents will move their clocks forward one hour. Daylight saving time is the cycle that starts in March and ends in November.
The main purpose of this time change is to provide more daylight hours, which also allows us to use less energy in lighting our homes. One big reason the clocks return to standard time in November is to prevent children from going to school in the dark as the sun rises later in the morning.
Many people enjoy the extra time in the evening. However, daylight saving time is not observed in Hawaii, Arizona, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
Although adding daylight hours does benefit sports, retailing and other activities, the new time causes problems for farming and other occupations relating to the sun. The process also complicates timekeeping, travel and sleep patterns.
Standard time and time zones in the U.S. and Canada were instituted by the railroads in November 1883 to standardize their schedules. Daylight saving time actually began in 1918 during World War I. However, the law was so unpopular that it was repealed and only became a local option for a few states.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 change their clocks in the spring.
Due to the inconsistencies of U.S. time, Congress decided to end the confusion 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.
In terms of our weather, it still looks like we’ll have below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation into early April. However, things should start turning warmer and drier later next month. La Nina, the cooler than normal sea-surface temperature event in the south-central Pacific Ocean, is still weakening, which increases the chances of better weather next month.