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Act of Congress means Seattle will have latest sunrise in 37 years Saturday

Act of Congress means Seattle will have latest sunrise in 37 years Saturday
Does it seem like it's been dark pretty late in the mornings? I noticed it the other day when my kid slept in until 7:55 a.m....and it was still dark outside. I didn't think much of it until I got a very "illuminating" e-mail from Scott Bader who pointed out this little tidbit:

This Saturday, the sun will rise at 8:01 a.m. in Seattle, and it's the latest sunrise since 1973.

How is that possible, when we're so far away from the winter solstice? Blame (or credit) Congress and the calendar.

A few years ago, Congress messed with our Daylight Saving Time switch-dates, making us turn our clocks back to standard time on the first Sunday in November, rather than the last Sunday in October.

With the October switch-back, our sunrises would get to about 7:45-7:50 a.m. or so, then get pushed back to 6:45-6:50 a.m. when we turned our clocks back. But waiting the week adds another 10-15 minutes to the sunrise.

The calendar quirk? In 2010, the first Sunday in November is as late as it can be -- the 7th, giving us the maximum time on Daylight Saving Time possible under this arrangement. It's so late that the sunrise will get all the way to 8:01 a.m. on Saturday before it switches back to 7:03 a.m. on Sunday.

The latest sunrise on standard time is Dec. 30 at 7:58 a.m.

Why 1973? During the Arab oil crisis, Congress put the U.S. on Daylight Savings Time all year long in an effort to save energy. (So in that sense, the most recent "record" latest sunrise was 8:58 a.m. on Dec. 30, 1973).

There were extended periods of DST in 1974 and 1975 too, but each year DST ended before November. (The U.S. was also on constant DST from April 1942 through Sept. 1945 to conserve energy during World War II.)

So feel free to sleep in Saturday morning -- the sun will wait the longest it has in 37 years to wake you up :)

(P.S. In researching the topic, I stumbled upon a site that has an interesting proposal: To reduce confusion and make it easier to do regional commerce, make the U.S. only have two time zones -- in essence putting the Pacific Time Zone on permanent daylight time and the Mountain Time Zone on permanent standard time, linking the two together as effectively one time zone. Then do the same with Central/Eastern Time Zones. The net effect is having two time zones in the nation, and the west coast is always just 2 hours behind the east coast. Not sure how that would work internationally? )