WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Westchester residents will set their clocks forward one hour for daylight-saving time before retiring to bed at 2 a.m., Sunday, March 9, with dreams that "Spring Ahead" will mark an end to the long winter.
Hopeful crocuses, one of the first signs of spring in the area, are sleeping under piles of ice and snow left from more than 60 inches of frozen precipitation in Westchester so far this winter.
Spring officially arrives on March 20 -- less than two weeks from Sunday -- but many expect delays in the annual "spring fever" epidemic.
Some experts say sleep problems may follow the loss of an hour of sleep as people have difficulty changing their body clocks.
According to the Greenburgh Nature Center's Director of Education Travis Brady, the animal world is right on time in its spring cycle even if Westchester humans can't feel the spring yet.
"Animals will move into the spring as they always do with amphibians (tadpoles and salamanders) migrating to the ponds to breed," Brady said. "As the daylight hours get longer, the plant and animal life are not deterred by cold or the snow on the ground."
Brady said that plant life, like skunk lettuce are already breaking through the earth's surface. even crocuses are springing up beneath the ice and snow.
"Spring is coming as sure as the calendar says it is," Brady said. "This has been a cold winter with lots of snow, but nature has a rhythm and is not delayed."
Brady said a sure sign of spring at the Greenburgh Nature Center comes with daylight-saving time with the annual Maple Sugaring Party set for Sunday morning.
While plant and animal life are ready to move to spring, local parks, athletics fields, parking lots and other outdoor facilities still host piles of snow removed from town and village streets.
And will the snow melt in time for spring gardeners to begin planting in early April?
"There are some things, like peas, that can be started in March, but I start (seedlings) indoors now." said Lee Waczek, who works as a mentor with Cornell Master Gardeners Cooperative Extension. "The problem for gardeners this year will be the saturated ground after the snow melts. But nature adapts and we should, too."