From the ABC 7 Weather team

Ready to spring forward? Not just the season, but the time!

March 4, 2012 - 08:26 AM
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We plowed through winter without a hitch and now spring is on the horizon. Before we even transition into the warmer season, don’t forget we turn the clocks up an hour and daylight saving time resumes in just one week!

After a whopping 2 inches of snow for the nation’s capital this winter, spring is on the horizon and coming quickly. Even better for those yearning to grab a tennis or golf match after work following the deep, dark days of winter, we get the pleasure to spring forward in just a week!

We’ve been on Eastern Standard Time since November but early next Sunday, March 11, we turn the clocks ahead by an hour at 2 a.m. and Daylight Saving Time begins!

What does this mean for us? First of all, we lose an hour of sleep next weekend (Boo!) but the benefits will outweigh that loss of sleep if you like to see more daylight during the latter half of the day. Keep in mind, too, that turning the clocks ahead by an hour means more darkness in the morning (at least temporarily because the days continue to get longer and longer until June 21!)

Take a look at the upcoming sunrise/sunset calendar. Take note of the last column, change in daylight from the previous day!

Sunday, March 11th Sunrise/Sunset 7:25 a.m.; 7:12 p.m. (+2 min 33 seconds)
Monday, March 12th 7:23 a.m./7:13 p.m. (+3 minutes)
Tuesday, March 13th 7:22 a.m./7:14 p.m (+2 minutes)
Wednesday, March 14th 7:20 a.m./7:15 p.m. (+3 minutes)

Do you remember when the government altered the dates we spring forward and fall back? Yes, it was the Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed by Congress on July 29, 2005 and signed into law by President George W. Bush on Aug. 8, 2005. As a part of this law, clocks were set ahead one hour on the second Sunday of March instead of the first Sunday in April and set back one hour on the first Sunday in November instead of the last Sunday in October.

The whole concept of this measure was to save energy. The idea is that Americans use less energy in the morning before work because they spend less time between waking up and going to work as opposed to the end of the day when more waking hours are spent between coming home from work and going to sleep. This resulted in more energy use in the evening than the morning.

In the spring, turning the clocks ahead an hour three weeks ahead of time would mean longer periods of daylight in the evening (with sunsets an hour later) and reduced energy consumption with respect to the number of hours of lighting needed inside the house in the late afternoon to early evening.

According to this government report, electricity consumption was down by 0.03 percent two years following the passage of this legislation in 2007. On a daily basis there was a 0.50 percent savings on electricity in March compared to a 0.38 percent savings in the fall (November).

No matter how you slice it or dice it, the days are getting longer and you’ll need less lighting for the next few months. Today there will be 11 hours, 29 minutes and 1 second of daylight. By the Vernal Equinox on March 20th at 1:14 a.m. EDT, there will be 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. Then, following the first official start of summer on June 20, 2012 at 7:09 p.m. EDT, there will be 14 hours, 53 minutes and 54 seconds of daylight on June 21st!

Interested in the official start dates of the astronomical seasons through 2020? Click here.

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