Thursday, February 1, 2018

Almost Time for the Groundhog

February!  One more month of winter gone (although, true confession, I spent a few days of it in Florida).
The statue I call my "snow angel" sat, confused, in melting snow on Saturday.  Now, the cold weather (and snow) are back again.

Yesterday, I never did see the eclipsed supermoon/blue moon.  Meanwhile, in upstate New York, many people are so sick of winter they would do almost anything to make it go away.  Yesterday, when I left for work, it was 10 degrees F (-12.2 C).  Later in the day, we had a little snow.  The weather, however, will be nastier in a few days.

February 2 is Skywatch Friday, so let me talk about February 2 today.

Tomorrow will be 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 (ha).

The groundhog usually sees his shadow, but, according to our Weather Channel, the main groundhog (in Pennsylvania) has only been accurate about 39% of the time.

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. Yes, that's how we roll here.  Poor groundhog. (On the other hand, considering how many of my plants groundhogs have destroyed over the years, good thing I wasn't on that jury.)

In 2016, it was unseasonably warm for us.  2017?  It got up to 42F (5.5 Celsius) at our house yesterday. This post from 2014 shows a more typical February day.

There are multiple predicting groundhogs in the United States, and they even compete with each other.  Yes, we take our silly customs seriously here in the good ol' U S of A.

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.

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

Remember the movie Groundhog Day?   Could any other country have produced this movie?  Well, guess what?  The movie turns 25 this year, and it is going to be re-released in the movie theatres on - February 2.

Do you celebrate Groundhog Day?  Or do you have a different type of holiday that makes you shake your head where you live?

5 comments:

  1. I've always heard that, if the groundhog sees his shadow, we'll hev six more weeks of winter; if he doesn't, spring is just around the corner and should be here in oh, six weeks...

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  2. When I arose this morning, the moon was beautiful. A day late, lol. Snow storm on the way.

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  3. I have never understood the logic of Groundhog Day. I mean, if he sees his shadow, shouldn't that mean that you get an early spring? If the sun is out, doesn't that mean better weather is coming? *shakes head*

    Yeah, so I gave up trying to figure it out decades ago. And it doesn't really impact us here in SoCal anyway. I think you'd call our temps this week spring-like. (Well, now. Sunday and Monday the temps were summer-like.)

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  4. I agree dear.... same feeling I used to share when studying Utah...seriously, death penalty for Groundhog was in our minds whenever he do not see his shadow...loved the post

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  5. Whoa this is seriiously hilarious to me and I cant believe weather predictions are taken serisously via this route. More power to the groundhog and I hope the winter spell breaks soonest for you.
    Winters here in new Delhi are almost over and I am back to opening windows of the home to let in fresh air. I am moaning that they got over too too soon for me!

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