Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Groundhog Day 2016

Today is Groundhog Day in the United States, where we pull a groundhog out of the ground to predict the weather.   It's purely scientific, of course, and this is how it works:   If the groundhog sees its shadow, we have six more weeks of winter.  If the groundhog doesn't see its shadow, we get an early spring.

The groundhog usually sees his shadow.

In 2015, one of our harshest Northeast winters in many years, the ground hog saw its shadow, despite the fact that it was overcast, and a rain/snow mix was moving in.  Somehow, that ground hog almost always sees its shadow.  In 2013, it didn't see its shadow and we still got six more weeks of winter.

The groundhog almost got the death penalty for that one.

For those of my readers who don't live in the United States, here's a history of Groundhog Day, in case you are wondering why people in the United States still depend on a groundhog seeing his shadow (or not) to predict if winter will be over soon.

And here's what happened when a Wisconsin town's groundhog decided that weather predicting wasn't the right career choice for him.

Last year, for Groundhog Day in the Binghamton, New York, area, what is our weather like?

The lumps are flower planters
I woke up to these front steps, after we had a storm overnight.  You can sort of see the covered steps in the bottom of the photo.
Come on, tree.  Don't you know that a frown is just a smile upside down (according to cliche)?

But this year - what a difference a year made. In other parts of the United States, a blizzard is in progress.  For us in upstate New York, it is different.
Chenango River, downtown Binghamton, Feb 1 near sunset
Very different.  The rivers aren't even that frozen.
This was the weather forecast for January 31.  They were wrong.  We made it up to 53F (11.6C).  We have no snow on the ground.  As in "no snow". This, in an area that can get 80 inches (203 cm) or more of snow in a winter.

And, on Sunday, this was our five day forecast.

Will the groundhog be correct in 2016?  We'll know later this morning.

Does the area where you live have any old weather customs?


  1. I remember what a big deal Groundhog Day was in the northeast. Sad to say that in Fla. and Calif, the two states I've lived in most, it's not even noticed. Now I need to go see what happened!

  2. Pardon my ignorance but what is a groundhog?

  3. Such traditions are always fun

  4. Apparently the prediction is for an early spring. I live in Oregon where rain is usually the forecast.

  5. Good work thank you for sharing

  6. "The rivers weren't EVEN THAT frozen." ROTFLOL -- You said it all, right there. lol! It's freakishly warm here this week: in the upper 60s. We're holding our breath, waiting for February to dump a load of freezing rain on us, just when we least expect it.

  7. You're so lucky to be in a part of the country not hit by this storm we're getting today. It's miserable out. Took hours to snow blow the driveway and I hear the whipping winds tonight will just blow the snow back onto the driveway.

  8. The whole thing about seeing a shadow never made sense to me. If the groundhog sees a shadow, doesn't that mean the sun's out and spring should be coming early?

  9. Well I don't know about you, but I'll be thankful for a mild winter. We still have to get through February. :)

  10. This has definitely been a bizarre winter for those of us who usually get a lot of snow and ice. Here in Maine, we have very little snow, and downright balmy spring-like temperatures (at the moment!) BUT...it's still February and it could still happen that we get a big storm!

  11. I didn't know about Groundhog day even though I lived 6 years in the US. But then I was in Phoenix where sun shines throughout the year. It was a fun read, Alana.


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