Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Pandemic Groundhog Day 2021

Time continues to march on.  Here we are in February, and another Groundhog Day has come.

The rules are simple.

If the groundhog called Punxsutawney Phil (he or she lives in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania) sees its shadow, we have six more weeks of winter.  If the groundhog doesn't see its shadow, we get an early spring.  Here's a little history of that tradition.

The groundhog usually sees his shadow.  Due to the pandemic, the party surrounding Phil's appearance in 2021 will all be virtual (starting at 6:30 am EST)But it's never too late to plan your visit for 2022. 

It's sad in a way - normally thousands of people are there before dawn, waiting for the big moment. Now it's just a handful of people.

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.

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

Then there was 2019 and the polar vortex.  We in upstate New York didn't get the brunt of it, but still.  The morning before we set a new record of -10 (-23 C) with gusting winds.

2020, as we prepared to enter a pandemic period, the groundhog did not see its shadow.  But the weather did not listen, and we had a miserable spring, in the midst of our lockdown.  We even got snow in May, where I live in New York State.

So, what about 2021?  Actually, Punxsutawney Phil isn't the only groundhog in the United States that predicts the weather.  Buffalo, New York has one too, and it has already - er, spoken.

He didn't see his shadow.  Six more weeks of winter.

Meanwhile, we are in the middle of a snowstorm.

So there.


  1. ...and spring will arrive when it arrives.

  2. Phil has already seen his shadow. Still waiting on the locals, Malverne Mel and Staten Island Chuck. But with over a foot of snow on the ground ...

  3. We had that storm before you, hope you get out from under it soon. And here's hoping Spring is right around the corner. If ever there was a year that we needed an early spring, this is it.

  4. It's snowing here. But we are heading home to CA later this month.
    Carol C aka JulieO

  5. I wrote about GHD with a different take. Ancient Celtic tradition just like Phil. We all want Winter to give way to Spring!

  6. Oregon has Stumptown Fil (full name Filbert), and he saw his shadow. I'm not sure how, it's been cloudy in Portland. He saw it last year too, but the zoo had to close in March due to snow. So many of our holidays and traditions have religious roots, some quite ancient.

  7. This tradition never makes sense to me, but what do I know? Sorry for more winter, but it's easier to stay in when it's winter, right?

  8. Basing our future on a rodent. I'll just leave that there...

  9. I do NOT understand how that varmint saw his shodow while it was snowing. Are they sure it wasn't an erroneously placed TV light?

    At any rate, here's a tasty sounding recipe I thought I would share in honor of yesterday's event:

    tasty-sounding recipe


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