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Daylight saving time math: ‘Spring forward, fall back,’ meet ‘3 hours in the summer, 2 in the winter’

NewsDaylight saving time math: 'Spring forward, fall back,' meet '3 hours in the summer, 2 in the winter'

  • One of the most popular holidays of all time revolves around a clock — New Year’s Eve
  • In the spring, if you live in Arizona and your work is based on the East Coast, your work shift likely starts an hour earlier because of daylight saving time
  • When we have to alter our schedules or time, it has a big impact on our lives

It’s almost time to change your clocks.

The beloved daylight saving time phrase “spring forward, fall back” is a helpful mnemonic used twice a year for states like Florida and Georgia.

But Arizonans have a different daylight saving time phrase: “3 hours in the summer, 2 in the winter.” It’s very similar to “longer days in the summer, shorter days in the winter.” The irony, of course, is Arizona doesn’t observe daylight saving time. Neither does Hawaii.

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Daylight saving time in the spring means we “spring forward” and — depending on your outlook — we gain an hour during the day and lose an hour of sleep. For states that observe daylight saving time, wall clocks should be changed at 2 a.m. EST Sunday, March 12. Its counterpart in the fall is when we lose an hour during the day (or gain an hour if you’re talking about sleep) or “fall back.” The states that recognize daylight saving time will set the clock one hour back at 2 a.m. EST Sunday, Nov. 5.

For those in the Eastern, Central, Mountain or Pacific time zones, the time will change.

If you live on the East Coast, you’re in the Eastern Time zone, and if it’s 6 p.m. in Florida, it’s 3 p.m. in California, which is in the Pacific Time zone. Subtracting three hours to get the time from Eastern to Pacific, or two hours from Eastern to Mountain and one hour from Eastern to Central, that’s what we call “time zone math.” That doesn’t change, whether it’s daylight saving time or not.

But it’s tricky for those in Arizona or Hawaii.

What is the time zone math like if you live there? If it’s 6 p.m. in Florida, what time is it in Arizona or Hawaii, and how do you calculate it?

We’ve set up a guide to help you with the time zone calculations. Here’s a guide to “daylight saving time math” and other fun things to know about the, ahem, time-honored tradition.

Below are some details about daylight saving time and how to calculate daylight saving time math if you live on the East Coast and want to know what time it is on the West Coast or in Hawaii.

When is dspanylight sspanving time 2023?

Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. EST Sunday, March 12, and in Florida, we’ll set our wall clocks forward by one hour. The clocks change again at 2 a.m. EST Sunday, Nov. 5. Remember, “spring forward, fall back.”

When should I set my clock?

Most people set their clocks before going to bed, and those with smartphones, computers, tablets and smart TVs typically don’t have to do anything — their devices automatically adjust to the correct time.

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Why all the hype around daylight saving time?

We live in a time-obsessed culture. What time is it? When’s dinner? When’s lunch? How soon till I take my 30-minute lunch break from work? How many days or hours until we celebrate Diwali, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Christmas?

And, of course, one of the most popular holidays of all time revolves around a clock — New Year’s Eve. Worldwide, we love that holiday so much, we dress up, drink Champagne at midnight, or watch a ball drop (in person, virtually or on TV). So when we have to alter our schedules or time, it has a big impact on our lives.

In the news business, it’s especially critical to mind your time zone. A rocket launch scheduled to lift off at 12:21 a.m. EST from Kennedy Spspance Center plays havoc with a reporter on a 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. schedule, but chances are people tuning in from the West Coast are able to watch it virtually at 9:21 p.m. PST with little or no interruption to their sleep schedule.

With the pandemic and remote working — #WFH or working from home — knowing your time zone math is critical. Especially if, say, you live in Arizona, but your job is based in Florida.

Fun fact: Most of Florida is in the Eastern Time Zone, except for Pensacola, Panama City, Marianna, Chipley, Defuniak Springs, Valparaiso, Fort Walton Beach and Crestview.

Finally, daylight saving time math calculator

In the U.S., there are four time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific. If it’s 6 p.m. in Florida (in the Eastern Time zone), that means it’s 5 p.m. in Illinois (which is in the Central Time zone), 4 p.m. in Colorado (which is in the Mountain Time zone), and 3 p.m. in California (which is in the Pacific Time zone).

There are time zone converters spannd time zone cspanlculspantors online, but if you’re not around a computer or smartphone, and you want to do the math on your own, we have these tips.

The simplest way to remember “time zone math” for the states that recognize daylight saving time is three-two-one: three hours difference from Eastern to Pacific, two hours difference from Eastern to Mountain, and one hour difference from Eastern to Central.

Some examples:

  • If it’s noon in Florida, it’s 11 a.m. ET in Illinois, 10 a.m. in Colorado and 9 a.m. in California.
  • If it’s midnight in Florida, it’s 11 p.m. ET in Illinois, 10 p.m. in Colorado and 9 p.m. in California.
  • If it’s 7:37 p.m. in Florida, it’s 6:37 p.m. ET in Illinois, 5:37 p.m. in Colorado and 4:37 p.m. in California.

Daylight saving time math calculator if you live in Arizona

“3 hours in the summer, 2 in the winter” is a common phrase for Arizonans. Because the state does not recognize daylight saving time, time zone math gets a little tricky.

Daylight saving time in the spring

  • From an Arizonan’s point of view, before the time change in the spring, if it’s 6 p.m. in Florida, it’s 4 p.m. in Arizona and 3 p.m. in California.
  • After the time change in the spring, if it’s 6 p.m. in Florida, it becomes 3 p.m. in Arizona and California.

Daylight saving time in the fall

  • From an Arizonan’s point of view, before the time change on Nov. 5, if it’s 6 p.m. ET in Florida, it’s 3 p.m. in Arizona and California.
  • After the time change on Nov. 5, if it’s 6 p.m. ET in Florida, it’s 4 p.m. in Arizona but 3 p.m. in California.

Daylight saving time math calculator if you live in Hawaii

There’s “island time,” then there’s daylight saving time.

Because Hawaii does not recognize daylight saving time, the time zone math also gets a little tricky.

Daylight saving time in the spring

  • Before daylight saving time takes place in the spring, Hawaii is always two hours behind California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada (Pacific time); three hours behind Colorado (Mountain time); four hours behind Illinois (Central time); and five hours behind New York, Florida and Georgia (Eastern time).
  • From a Hawaiian’s point of view, before the time change in the spring, if it’s 6 p.m. ET in Florida, it’s 1 p.m. in Hawaii.
  • After the time change in the spring, if it’s 6 p.m. ET in Florida, it becomes noon again in Hawaii.

Daylight saving time in the fall

  • Before daylight saving time takes place in the fall, Hawaii is always three hours behind California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada.
  • From a Hawaiian’s point of view, before the time change on Nov. 5, if it’s 6 p.m. ET in Florida, it’s noon in Hawaii. Hawaii is six hours behind Eastern Standard Time, five hours behind Central time, four hours behind Mountain time, and three hours behind Pacific time.
  • After the time change on Nov. 5, if it’s 6 p.m. ET in Florida, it is 1 p.m. in Hawaii because the states that observe daylight saving time “fell back” an hour. Hawaii is then five hours behind Eastern Standard Time, four hours behind Central time, three hours behind Mountain time and two hours behind Pacific time.

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