Friday, April 25, 2008

U.S. Timezone Conundrum

Wendy lives in a state that is on the West Coast. Edward, on the other hand, lives in a state that is on the East Coast. One day Wendy calls from her home and finds Edward also at home.

"Hey Edward, I'm not so good with timezones. I was wondering. What time is it there?"

Edward, checks his clock and reports back with the accurate time.

"That's funny," says Wendy. "It's exactly the same time here."

Where do Wendy and Edward live and how can this be?


  1. If 'East Coast' includes Indiana and one of the funky counties that doesn't move its clocks forward to DST, and 'West Coast' includes Arizona, you can see by a time zone map that they could be at the same time.

  2. For the sake of this question the definition is strictly defined as states at or near the coast. The West Coast states are Washington, Oregon and California. The East Coast states are Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

  3. Assuming the time zone map I looked at onlinle is accurate, parts of eastern Oregon are in the mountain time zone, and parts of the Florida panhandle are in central. That only leaves a one hour discrepancy to account for.

  4. Is the answer that they're in the Mountain and Central time zone areas of Oregon and Florida, and they're talking the morning of the end of daylight savings time. Like, at 2am the day the clocks are set back an hour, Edward wakes up and notices that he should set his clock back an hour. He calls Wendy, and since it's still 1am in Oregon, she isn't supposed to set her clock back an hour yet.

  5. I'm going with Eric's angle, as opposed to my original answer, which was "I have no idea."

  6. That was indeed my intended answer.

    As EricMargel noted, a small part of Oregon is on Mountain time, and the Florida panhandle is on Central time, just one hour off.

    In the Fall, when we switch back an hour, away from daylight savings time, the switch happens at 2 am local time. So when it's 2 am on switch day in the Central zone, the time switches back to 1 am. And it's still 1 am in the Mountain zone (since the zone won't fall back until 2 am in Mountain).

    During that hour, it can be the same time in both Oregon and Florida!

  7. If Florida goes Daylight Saving, year-round, then this will be true for whenever Oregon is in Standard time.


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