Winter is approaching and our days are continuing to get "shorter," as the number of hours in a day remain the same but the number of hours of daylight decrease. On Nov. 3, daylight hours for most of us will end even earlier in the evening when we move our clocks back an hour to end daylight saving time. Many people will change their clocks, but do they know why?
Daylight saving time was primarily started in the United States for the sake of conserving energy. The Standard Time Act was passed in 1918, which officially established time zones and incorporated daylight saving months into federal law. This was during World War I, when national efforts were made to conserve materials for the war effort. It was believed that if daytime hours could correspond better with natural light, fewer tasks would need to be done at night. Homes would need to use less energy to stay lit.
Conservation, from fuel to food to silver, was stressed by Entente and Associated power governments during WWI, as seen in this poster from the Canadian Food Board. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
After the war, daylight saving time was revoked. When food conservation became mandatory in the United Sates during World War II (rather than just being encouraged as it was in WWI), daylight saving time was once again instated. Referred to as "War Time," it spanned from early February until the end of September.
After the war "Peace Time" was back in effect and the issue of daylight saving time was handled on a local level. This led to a great deal of confusion as different locations were constantly operating at different times. The Uniform Time Act was passed in 1966 to solve the problem. States were given the option to opt out of daylight saving time if they passed proper ordinances.
With daylight saving no longer a federal mandate, some states have chosen not to observe it. The only states that don't currently participate in daylight saving are Arizona and Hawaii, with several U.S. territories choosing not to follow it as well. Arizona has such intense heat in daylight hours that it's not considered a benefit for its residents to be out for as much of it as possible.
As for Hawaii, its location closer to the equator gives them more consistent "days" year round. They wouldn't be gaining, or losing, many daylight hours by observing the clock change.
Daylight saving time (also called "summer time") is observed in many countries all over the world, though the time frame for it varies. In the United States it ran from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in October until the Energy Policy Act was passed in 2005. As of 2007, daylight saving now runs from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.
The argument continues over whether or not daylight saving time makes enough of an impact on energy costs to be worth observing.
Conditions will continue to deteriorate across Hawaii this weekend as Darby delivers locally heavy rain and rough surf.
Much of the eastern United States will continue to swelter with above-average temperatures into the end of the month.
Stifling heat has been baking the central United States but will finally ease across northern areas this weekend.
Lightning killed a teenager on Friday, the second teen lightning death in three days. With thunderstorms continuing to rattle several parts of the nation, more lives will be at risk.
The more than 100,000 people expected to attend the annual Glorious Goodwood festival this week will want to keep a brolly handy.
North Carolina (1975)
Lightning killed 13 cows during a thunderstorm at Kenansville. Heavy rains elsewhere in the state forced the Tar River out of its banks at Greenville, causing 14 families to evacuate their homes.
New York (1975)
Severe thunderstorms in western and central NY: lightning struck a city park in Rochester injuring 12 children, all were playing on a metal jungle gym. One patrolman described the scene as if "someone threw a stick of dynamite in the middle of the crowd and it blew."
Southeastern MA (1990)
Torrential rains: Middleboro 7.20" Bridgewater 5.00" Tauton 4.33" Abington 3.05" Cars were stranded in high water in Fall River, MA.