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Daylight Savings Time Ends Sunday

The Free Press WV

Ready or not, Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday.

Loved by some, loathed by many, our biannual clock twirling ritual has wide-ranging and often surprising implications.

From energy use to our very health, here’s a look at some of the mythology and facts surrounding DST.


It doesn’t seem to be a huge energy saver

One of the most commonly offered rationales for Daylight Saving Time (yes, it’s “Saving,“ not “Savings”) is the presumption that by extending summer daylight later into the evening, Americans would use less energy.

It was the reason Congress used in enacting Daylight Saving Time during World War I and again after the United States joined WW II, according to author David Prerau.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to hold true.

A 2008 U.S. Department of Energy study reported Daylight Saving Time reduces annual energy use by about 0.03%. And a study that same year from the University of California-Santa Barbara found it might even increase energy consumption.

After Indiana adopted Daylight Saving Time statewide in 2006, researchers examined power usage statistics and found that electricity consumption there rose 1% overall, with a 2% to 4% increase in the fall months.

The additional power usage cost Indiana power users $9 million a year and increased pollution, to boot, the researchers found.


Springing forward and falling back can be rough on our health
A 2012 British study found kids got more exercise during the longer summer day, That’s good. Then again, researchers at the University of Alabama Birmingham reported in 2012 that the spring adjustment led to a 10% increase in heart attack risk.

On the other hand, that same study found the risk fell about as much in the fall, when clocks were turned back.

The clock changes can also raise the risk of accidents by sleep-deprived motorists. The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in 1996 reporting an 8% increase in traffic accidents on the Monday following the spring shift.

The good news is that the extra sleep makes streets about 8% safer on the day after the fall change, according to that study.


But hey, you’re less likely to get robbed!

“When DST begins in the spring, robbery rates for the entire day fall an average of 7 percent, with a much larger 27 percent drop during the evening hour that gained some extra sunlight,“ the Brookings Institution reported Thursday, citing research from the think tank’s upcoming paper in the The Review of Economics and Statistics,.


Let’s leave the farmers out of this, okay?

The idea that Daylight Saving Time was created to help farmers get their harvests in is so ingrained into the national consciousness, it’s hard to believe it’s not true.

But it’s not, according to Prerau, whose 2009 book “Seize the Daylight” traces the history of the time shift.

Farmers, in fact, vociferously fought the proposals, arguing they cut productivity and made life overall tougher for them.

“If you want to cut off 25 per cent of the productiveness of the American farmer, just keep this law on the books,“ Prerau quotes one agricultural lobby as arguing during an effort to repeal Daylight Savings Time in 1919.


Fewer and fewer of us think it’s worth the trouble

A 2014 Rasmussen poll found that a declining percentage of adults in the United States—33%—think Daylight Saving Time is “worth the hassle.“ That’s down from 37% in 2013 and 45% the year before.

Efforts to kill of Daylight Saving Time are nearly as old as the time shift itself, and even today some are trying to get it repealed.

More than 63,000 people have signed a petition sponsored by the DST-hating website standardtime.com. A search on Change.org returns 1,466 petitions mentioning Daylight Saving Time, most of which appear to support abolishing it.

Others like it so much they want it to be kept year round (standard time, by the way, is standard in name only ... we go seven months of the year now with the extra hour tacked on at the end of the day).

Brookings, for instance, seems to be on board with the year-round DST approach, saying the costs and dangers are associated less with the shift forward than the constant back and forth.

“We could easily avoid them by moving to year-round DST—that is, permanently shifting that hour of daylight to the evening, and then leaving our clocks alone,“ Jennifer L. Doleac and Nicholas J. Sanders wrote in the Brookings piece Thursday. “Our research suggests that we’d be safer for it.“

~~  CNN ~~

Hurricane Patricia Strongest Ever Measured on Planet

Mexicans have just be warned the shocking news that Hurricane Patricia has the potential to lift cars and homes.

Conagua director says the phenomenon has the strength to lift cars and homes. He announced in a press conference that Playa Perula is the area most at risk, and to make preparations.

“We don’t want anyone outside after 2 p.m. Hurricane Patricia will be able to lift cars,” the Civil Guard reports.

Mexicans in the path still at home have been told to cut power, gas and water at their homes to prevent adding to the pending humanitarian catastrophe.

Hurricane Patricia became the strongest storm ever measured on the planet early Friday, threatening 205 mph winds at landfall and to trigger deadly 40-foot waves, “life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides” along with widespread power outages, experts say. Waterspouts, tornadoes and whirlpools near the hurricane at landfall are likely. Disastrous conditions will probably begin at noon Friday.

Because of recent rains that softened the ground, the area could register mudslides, landslides, overflowing rivers and streams and damages in roads and road sections, as well as flooding in low saturation areas and drains in urban sites.


Several million residents on Mexico’s southern west coast were told to rapidly prepare for the “worst-case scenario” as powerhouse Patricia raced toward them late Friday afternoon or early evening.

With 215 mph maximum sustained winds early Friday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) described Patricia as the “strongest hurricane on record” in the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific Basins. CONAGUA, Mexico’s national water commission, predicted waves up to 39 feet at landfall. In August, Dupré reported a powerhouse El Nino amid the hottest ocean waters in recorded history was brewing catastrophic conditions, requiring early preparations.

Patricia’s power is comparable to Typhoon Haiyan, that left more than 7,300 dead or missing in the Philippines two years ago, according to the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization.

At 4:00pm Central Daylight Time, the hurricane was about 400 kilometers south of Manzanillo and moving west-northwest at 20 km/h. Forecasters at AccuWeather narrowed Hurricane Patricia’s landfall to just northwest of the city of Manzanillo in Colima The NHC, that had said it would weaken at landfall, said early Friday tht some strengthening is forecast for tonight when it hits.

Category 5 Hurricane Patricia became a “potentially catastrophic hurricane” in the Pacific Ocean Thursday, according to forecasters. Government officials scrambled to warn the public to rapidly prepare for the dangerous super storm, intensified over the hottest water in recorded history from a little tropical storm into a monster within 24 hours, threatening life and property.

“Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion today,” the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami said Thursday night after Hurricane Patirica quickly grew from a 65MPH tropical storm into a Category 5 hurricane, causing authorities to scramble in attempt to make people safe.

Satellite images indicate that maximum sustained winds increased to 200 mph with higher gusts, the NHC reported. “Some fluctuations in intensity are possible today, but Patricia is expected to remain an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane through landfall,” the center reported early Friday morning.

Patricia is expected to land near Punta San Telmo, Baja California Sur late Friday. Hurricane warnings are in effect on Mexico’s Pacific Coast from San Blas to Punta San Telmo, including resort cities Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. People in the most danger are those on the coast, especially in the state of Jalisco.

According to the 2010 census, more than 7.3 million inhabitants are in Jalisco state; more than 255,000 in Puerto Vallarta municipality; more than 650,000 in Colima state, and more than 161,000 in Manzanillo.

Not only Patricia’s expected deadly winds have Mexicans preparing for the worst. Destructive waves, heavy rain and thus landslides are probable, only a month after neighboring Guatemala’s catastrophic rain storm and mudslides buried hundreds alive. Up to 20 inches of rain has been predicted for Mexican states Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero through Saturday, the NHC said.

Manzanillo’s “main street really floods and cuts access to a lot of other streets. It ends up like an island,” explained a resident Alejandra Rodriguez.

Patricia is the only second category 5 hurricane to hit the entire Pacific coast since full recordkeeping began in 1949. A storm struck late October 1959 near Manzanillo, killing an estimated 1,800 people — 800 from mudslides alone. A category 5 damage averages over five billion dollars, unimaginable for Americans poor neighbors to the south.

Forecast models indicate that after the storm breaks over land, its tropical moisture will likely combine with and contribute to heavy rainfall in the area and all the way to Texas, already soaked independently of the hurricane, according to center meteorologist Dennis Feltgen.

“It’s only going to make a bad situation worse,” he said.

Governor Javier Duarte is seeking an emergency declaration for 71 municipalities where rivers already hve overflown their banks and there is widespread flooding causing damage to homes and highways.

What This Year’s El Nino Will Mean for Winter

The Free Press WV

The NOAA’s winter forecast has arrived, and thanks to a well-known Pacific Ocean phenomenon, parts of the country can expect to be doused in plenty of chilly precipitation. “A strong El Nino is in place and should exert a strong influence over our weather this winter,“ Mike Halpert, the deputy director of the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, says on the agency’s site, adding that other climate patterns out of the Arctic and Pacific Northwest will also play a part. Here are some predictions countrywide:

  • Most of the Southern US will sit through a cool, wet winter thanks to El Nino, said to be the strongest it’s been in 50 years. For areas suffering through drought (hello, California), that rain and snow will be welcomed, but that doesn’t mean the Golden State is in the clear. “One season of above-average rain and snow is unlikely to remove four years of drought,“ Halpert notes, per USA Today. “California would need close to twice its normal rainfall to get out of drought, and that’s unlikely.“
  • Meanwhile, an active southern jet stream will likely result in heavy rains and flooding in Florida and other Gulf Coast states, as well as snow in Southern cities such as Atlanta, Charlotte, and Raleigh, per CNN. The Northeast doesn’t get off scot-free, either: Cities like New York and Boston may get slammed with major snow this season, the network notes.
  • Not everywhere will get soaked: Drier-than-usual winters are expected for most of Hawaii, parts of Alaska, the northern Rockies, parts of the Pacific Northwest, and near the Great Lakes. Major cities that may get a reprieve from severe winter weather: Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit.
  • As for temperatures this winter, most of the western and northern parts of the country can expect warmer-than-average numbers—which, CNN notes, could lead to lower heating costs in the Midwest and Northeast. The South, on the other hand, may see below-normal temps.

Cold Air Headed Our Way

The Free Press WV

CHARLESTON, WV — West Virginia is about to get a cold shot of arctic air which will deliver the coldest nights of the fall so far.

The National Weather Service has issued a frost advisory statewide for Friday night into Saturday morning.

Saturday night into Sunday morning a freeze watch is in effect for the mountain counties, northern panhandle, and eastern panhandle.

“That should be some of the coldest temperatures we see this weekend,” said Meteorologist Dylan Cooper at the Charleston Weather Bureau.

“Especially over in the mountains we could see temperatures dipping into the lower 20’s by Sunday morning.”

A cold front moved into the state on Friday morning clearing the way for a shot of Canadian air to push down with a high pressure system.

It’s a normal shift in the third weekend of October.

“We look to be pretty much on track for the fall so far,” he said.

“We end the growing season and start to see these powerful fronts move in bringing waves of cold air.”

Freeze Watch for the Area

The Free Press WV

FROST ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM TO 9 AM EDT SATURDAY…

FREEZE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE SATURDAY NIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHARLESTON HAS ISSUED A FROST ADVISORY…

WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM TO 9 AM EDT SATURDAY.

A FREEZE WATCH HAS ALSO BEEN ISSUED.

THIS FREEZE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FROM LATE SATURDAY NIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING.

* TEMPERATURE…

FRIDAY NIGHT (FROST ADVISORY): 35-40 EXCEPT NEAR 30 IN THE MOUNTAINS.

SATURDAY NIGHT (FREEZE WATCH): AROUND 30 EXCEPT 20 TO 25 IN THE MOUNTAINS.

* IMPACTS… COVER YOUR PLANTS AND TAKE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT THEM FROM THE COLD WEATHER. CONSIDER UNHOOKING YOUR GARDEN HOSES FOR WINTER STORAGE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A FROST ADVISORY MEANS THAT WIDESPREAD FROST IS EXPECTED. SENSITIVE OUTDOOR PLANTS MAY BE KILLED IF LEFT UNCOVERED.

A FREEZE WATCH MEANS SUB-FREEZING TEMPERATURES ARE POSSIBLE. THESE CONDITIONS COULD KILL CROPS AND OTHER SENSITIVE VEGETATION.

NOAA: Thanks To El Nino, The U.S. Looks Pretty Wet This Winter

The Free Press WV

El Nino this winter will leave a big wet but not necessarily snowy footprint on much of the United States, including parched California, forecasters said Thursday.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration issued its winter forecast and “the driver of this winter’s outlook is El Nino,“ said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

El Nino changes weather worldwide, mostly affecting the United States in winter. The weather pattern happens every few years when the Pacific Ocean warms up around the equator. This year’s is one of the strongest El Ninos on record.

NOAA expects a cooler and wetter winter for the South. For California, more precipitation than usual is expected during the critical time that its reservoirs usually fill, but there’s no guarantee. Only northern tier states, the Ohio Valley states and Alaska should be dry.

While California’s drought is likely to lessen in January, even the wettest winter on record — 33 years ago — didn’t have enough rain to wash out the current four-year drought, said NOAA hydrologist Alan Haynes of the California Nevada River Forecast Center.

Forecasters see a milder, warmer winter north of the Mason-Dixon line and for all of California and Nevada. Texas and the Deep South are forecast to be cold.

Overall, the nation should have 2 percent fewer days when people have to fire up their furnaces, said Halpert. He said the Northeast, where it was chilly and snowy last year, should see 6 percent fewer heating days.

Because of El Nino, NOAA is more confident than usual that its forecast is on target — 70 percent for a wet South, Halpert said.

The federal winter forecast doesn’t address snow, just wet or dry and warm or cold. Even though it’s likely to be both cooler and wetter in the South, it is usually so warm there that it needs a blast of Arctic air for snowstorms and that’s not looking likely, Halpert said. And while the north is likely to be warmer, past El Ninos have had some big snowstorms.

Historically, because there’s more storminess during El Ninos, there’s been a slight but not great increase in snowfall in the Northeast during El Ninos, said NOAA El Nino expert Michelle L’Heureux. But that could be skewed by a few big years in the past like the winter of 2009-10, she said. The Great Lakes area tends to get less snow during El Ninos, she said.

Private forecast firm Weather Bell Analytics predicts a swath from New Mexico across to the Carolinas and up the coast to Connecticut will get 50 percent more snow than usual.

AccuWeather, another private firm, sees severe thunderstorms in Florida, but forecasts less lake-effect snow around the Great Lakes, occasional mild days for the Midwest and says it will be “not as brutal” for the Northeast.

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