Posts Tagged ‘early spring’

When Rodents Predict Weather!

Another light accumulation of snow fell overnight in the Quad Cities and we could see another clipper system tonight that may bring another inch of snow.

Meanwhile, 650 miles to the east of the Quad Cities in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, in the western part of the state, a rodent was doing his best to forecast the next six weeks of weather.  Of course, I’m talking about Phil, the groundhog that has his own holiday each year on February 2nd.


As custom or folklore has it on “Groundhog Day”, Phil rises bright and early from his hole in Gobbler’s Knob.  If he sees his shadow, that means we’ll have six more weeks of winter.  If he doesn’t see his shadow, an “early spring” is forecast.

And, while it was cloudy here in the Quad Cities, the weather was pretty similar in Punxsutawney.

Punxsutawney Weather

And the verdict:  Punxsutawney Phil DID NOT see his shadow!  This means that there will be “an early spring”.  Now,  he’s all furry and adorable but I’m going to steal this thunder.  “Groundhog Dog” falls halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, which means whether he sees his shadow or not, there’s still six more weeks of winter!!!!!!!!!!  So, take that Phil. 🙂

Nevertheless, let’s put Phil to the test.  Over the past five years, Phil saw his shadow in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012.  He did not see his shadow in 2011.

So, did his forecast hold up?  I looked at how much snow actually fell in the Quad Cities (at the airport in Moline, Illinois) from February 2nd until the last snow of that winter season.  The average during this period is around 11.7″ and I’ll use that as a basis of him being right or wrong.

In 2008, Phil said six more weeks of winter and we had 20.8″ (18″ of that fell in February).

Punxsutawney Phil: correct

The next year, in 2009, he predicted six more weeks of winter weather.  However, only 7.1″ of snow fell.

Punxsutawney Phil:  wrong

In 2010, another prediction of six more weeks of winter.  We ended up getting 18.1″ of snow.

Punxsutawney Phil:  correct

Two years ago, he said we’d see an “early spring”.  Only 5.9″ of snow fell.

Punxsutawney Phil:  correct

And, last year, six more weeks of winter predicted and we only saw 7.9″ of snow.

Punxsutawney Phil:  wrong

So, if we looked at the past five years and how much snow fell from Groundhog Day to the last snow, Punxsutawney Phil was 60% accurate.

And, Phil isn’t the only forecasting groundhog.

Jimmie the Groundhog Wisconsin

This is Jimmie the Groundhog from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.  There’s also Buckeye Chuck in Marion, Ohio, General Beauregard Lee in Georgia, and Staten Island Chuck in New York!

Since we’re talking groundhogs. Gretel and I have seen two in our back yard.  This is “Belgium Waffle” & “French Toast”, but as far as I know they don’t forecast weather.  They leave that to me.

Belgian Waffle & French Toast

And, speaking of Gretel, she decided to write her own blog about the holiday to compete with me. 🙂  Here it is:

“Tomorrow is Groundhog Day”. Our friend Phil, the groundhog, will be forecasting the weather for the rest of the winter. “Groundhog Day” is fun for kids so they can start counting down the days till summer vacation. “Groundhog Day” gives us hope that the cold weather will stay in the Arctic until next year.  How will you enjoy your “Groundhog Day” this year?