The edges of time zones

Time zones are set up to avoid unreasonable and irrational divisions, but surely there is somewhere in the world where a time zone division splits two towns, cities, whatever, that are very close to each other. What happens at the edge of a time zone? Is there a sign somewhere that says “to the left of this sign it’s GMT +5.00, and to the right it’s GMT +6.00”?

This has been bugging me for a while. Any interesting anecdotes about the edge of time zones? What happens there? Are there two major cities/towns/places that are say, within 10 minutes of each other lying in two different time zones?

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is split between Eastern and Central Time. Most of the U.P. is in the Eastern Time Zone, but Dickinson, Gogebic, Iron, and Menominee Counties are on Central Time. There is a sign at the divide that says “Now Entering Central Time Zone.” (or Eastern depending on which way you’re driving).

Time zones don’t go straight north/south. They meander depending on the whims of the governments they pass through.

In the above example, Michigan is supposed to be entirely in the Eastern Time Zone, but the few counties petitioned to be allowed into central seeing as they were so far west.

However, if the zone went straight north/south, much of Western Michgian in both penninsulas would be central.

It’s not much of a problem. You get used to it. For example, Laughlin, Nevada is Pacific Time, while 200 yards away, across the Colorado River, Bullhead City is Mountain Time.

There’s a small town in Indiana (Ohio City) that straddles the state line … half in Indiana and half in Ohio. For the last 20+ years, most of Indiana has not recognized Daylight Saving Time so for half the year, there’s an hour’s time difference on one side of Main Street to the other side of Main Street. Most people in town usually say, “I’ll meet you at 6 o’clock Indiana time.” or “The movie starts at 7 Ohio time.”

This fall should change this dilemma as Indiana has once again agreed to conform to Daylight Saving Time, much to my dismay.

Yuma, AZ is in Mountain Time and only a mile or so away Winterhaven, CA is Pacific Time.

Back in my drinking days, on travel to the Marine Corps Station at Yuma you could close the bars in Yuma and then go over to Winterhaven and have another hour there. Drunks are diligent in working deals like that.

This issue rears its head every summer in Australia along the NSW/QLD border. NSW has daylight saving. QLD doesn’t. It can cause quite a bit of confusion for people who live on one side of the border but go to work, school etc on the other side.

But wouldn’t it be more practical to just start drinking in Winterhaven and then you don’t have to take time out for the trip over?

Of course, but then you wouldn’t have a sense of cheating the system. And the drinking in Yuma usually began with some people from Yuma who didn’t want to go to Winterhaven at all. They just wanted a few drinks and then go home.

Ah, yes, but this is irrational Indiana, so it will still be complicated. The legislature wanted to designate counties that would deviate from the statewide time zone, but it falls to some federal authority to decide. We still don’t know what time it will be in some counties (around Chicago, Louisville, and Cincinnati) when next fall comes. :confused: :stuck_out_tongue:

This happens on the New South Wales / Queensland border in the “twin towns” of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta - same time zone, but Queensland has a fondness for refusing to adopt daylight saving time in summer, putting it an hour behind New South Wales.

In the west of the state, the citizens of Broken Hill have a unique way of dealing with their NSW time zone - they simply ignore it and use South Australian time as much as they can - only keeping Sydney time for when they can’t avoid it (train timetables, etc).

Actually, Union City straddles the Ohio-Indiana border. There are usually stories done about it everytime DST starts up. I know of an Ohio City, Ohio, but I don’t know of an Ohio City, Indiana.

According to some friends in Indiana, the option of the various counties around the major cities staying tied to them the way they are now is not possible, it is all or nothing. OTOH, my friends are not always right about political things.

I was going to mention the Indiana/Ohio border town, but of course I’m too late. (By Ohio time, at least…)

God help you if you’re in a town straddling the border of Indiana and you want to know what time it is!

I used to have a world map with time zones up on it, and was amazed at the weird variations. Here’s one, but it’s not as pretty:
There used to be places where two or more time zones disappeared, so crossing a boundary made a three hour time change. And Saudi Arabia and other Arabic regions were on “sun time”. Most of that seems to be gone now (although going from India (or Caucasus regions) to China will shoot you over a couple of time zones – China has declared itself one big Time Zone.

Due to the state’s shape – long E-W and short N-S – and to the fact that states to the south are on a time zone boundary (Georgia and Alabama), Tennessee and its northern neighbor Kentucky get to have two time zones in each state.

On I-40 not far from the eastern side of the Cumberland Plateau escarpment, near the town of Rockwood, there are signs indicating the new zone.

One of the communities we have visited for a getaway, Rugby, is very near that boundary. A nearby town is in the other zone. They must have a fun time trying to coordinate events involving both communities, especially in April and October when the DST issue complicates things.

I’ve had the notion to stand on the ground next to the sign and hop back and forth, changing by an hour each hop. It’s like finding the spot on the pathway in the Cumberland Gap park where you can put your foot on three states at once. Not all that weird a feeling, but enough to mess with your head.

Anecdotal input: I’ve encountered something similar when I was on a voyage to South America, staying in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, respectively its twin city across the border, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil. They’re usually in the same time zone, but since the switch to DST in Brazil occurs about a week or so later than in Paraguay, there’s a time difference of one hour during that week, when Brazil’s time equals Paraguayan time minus one hour.
My SO and I stayed in a hotel in Ciudad del Este, and we wanted to visit the visitors’ center of the Itaipú hydroelectric power plant, which is located in Brazil. One morning, when we found out the opening times of the visitors’ center, we were disappointed because we supposed not having enough time to visit this impressive dam, until we realized we actually had one more hour because our watches were on Paraguayan time.

Since I really wanted to see Itaipú, this realization somewhat saved the trip for me.

The Ohio-Indiana border is about a hundred miles from the Eastern/Central time zone division. The only reason the changing clocks are an issue in Union City, is because of Indiana’s perverse implementation of Daylight Saving Time.

And I dunno where Ohio City, Indiana might be either. Perhaps Ruby is thinking of Michigan City, Indiana which is quite near the Eastern/Central division, although all of the city uses Central Time.

On the Utah/Nevada border is the town of Wendover (actually it’s Wendover, UT and West Wendover, NV) where the Nevada portion operates on Mountain Time rather than Pacific Time. Of course, since most of the visitors are from Utah who just want to get across the border so they can gamble, and since there are no towns of any size nearby on the Nevada side, it makes perfect sense.

…but Arizona doesn’t “celebrate” Daylight Savings Time. Therefore, for half of the year, Yuma and Winterhaven share Pacific Time while during the other half of the year, Yuma is indeed on Mountain while Winterhaven stays Pacific

I haven’t been through there since I was a child, but the twin towns of Texico, Texas and Texico, New Mexico straddle the TX-NM border. I can’t seem to verify it, but my memory is that the time zone line runs right along State Line Road, which separates the two towns. When I asked my mom how people handled this, she said they mostly just ignored it.