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Posted at 02:17 PM ET, 03/09/2012

After the winter that wasn’t, time to “spring ahead” again

Father Steve Planning takes care of Gonzaga College High School's 19th century manual clock. (Linda Davidson / Post)
It’s safe to say that Washington, D.C.’s mild, snowless winter of 2011-2012 is one for the record books now. What better way to say farewell than to “spring forward” into the land of evening daylight this Sunday?

In case you forgot, because the dark days of winter didn’t feel quite as cold and gloomy as they usually do, daylight saving time starts this Sunday, March 11 at 2:00 a.m. That means we turn the clocks ahead one hour (and unfortunately lose an hour of sleep in the process).

Related: Daylight saving time: Frequently asked questions

If it feels like we just recently engaged in this seasonal clock-shifting ritual, it’s because we did, only four months ago. Back in early November, winter still lay on the horizon, and snow lovers were filled with hope of a decent storm or two.

Yet in the weeks that followed, fall-like weather quickly began to overstay its welcome. Even as the days gradually lengthened in January, the cold never quite strengthened, and suddenly spring – and daylight saving time – is on our doorstep again.

Sunrise and sunset times in Washington, D.C. When daylight saving time begins on Sunday, the sun will rise at the same time as it did on Dec. 26 (USNO)
In the D.C. metro area, sunrise will shift an hour later – from 6:26 a.m. on Saturday to 7:25 a.m. on Sunday. While early risers might feel catapulted back to the dark mornings of late December, this Sunday’s 7:12 p.m. sunset will be a far cry from those before-5 p.m. sunsets we experienced from November 9 through January 5.

If the extra morning darkness has you hitting the snooze button on Monday morning, take solace in the fact that daylight is increasing at its most rapid pace of the year. This means that in just little over two weeks, the sun will again rise before 7 a.m., and by mid-April, sunlight will be streaming into your bedroom window before 6:30 in the morning.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more info on the upcoming spring equinox on March 20.


History and rationale of daylight saving time (CWG)

Daylight saving changes time, not weather (CWG)

No longer lurking in the shadows, daylight saving time reappears Sunday, standard time benched (AP)

By  |  02:17 PM ET, 03/09/2012

Categories:  Astronomy, Latest

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