Posts Tagged ‘Punxsutawney Phil’

Spring Forward Into Snow!

UPDATED POST:  Saturday, March 11, 2017, 4:51 p.m.

Here’s a quick update for Sunday and Monday’s snow event.


A “Winter Storm Watch” goes into effect Sunday evening through Monday evening for the counties shaded in blue.  This includes the Quad Cities.  It’s basically for counties along and north of Interstate 80.

A “Winter Storm Watch” means that conditions are favorable and confidence is building for significant snow accumulation.  This is the time to prepare.

It’s usually the case that this “Watch” will become a “Winter Storm Warning”, a “Winter Weather Advisory”, or a “Snow Advisory” before the snow starts to fall tomorrow.

The latest data Saturday evening is coming in snowier, so I’ve upped the snow totals for some hometowns, especially across the north.

PM Sat Snow Totals.jpg

I’ll have another update Sunday morning.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


ORIGINAL POST:  Saturday, March 11, 2017, 5:30 a.m.

“Mother Nature” definitely makes life interesting.

After the second warmest February on record in the Quad Cities with six straight days of record highs of 69°-74° and two tornado outbreaks in Iowa and Illinois in the past two weeks, “Snow Miser” blasts back into area later Sunday into Monday.

Snow Miser

A clipper system will drop through the Midwest Sunday afternoon and Monday bringing moderate snow to the area.

It’s likely the Quad Cities will see more snow with this system than what accumulated in January and February combined!  (We only picked up 2.7″ of snow in Moline, Illinois, and 2.6″ in Davenport, Iowa, so far, in 2017!)

Parts of Iowa are already under a “Winter Storm Watch” for Sunday afternoon through Monday evening. I expect watches and advisories to cover eastern Iowa and northern Illinois before the snow event begins.

This forecast is based on Saturday morning data and I’ll continue to update this throughout the weekend, as needed.

Snow will break out across eastern Iowa later Sunday afternoon.  That snow will likely reach the Quad Cities by midnight.

This is the forecast map for 6 a.m. Monday.  Notice the tightly packed lines around the low-pressure system.  That means it’ll be windy, so we’ll have to deal with blowing snow, too.

Monday 6am

Snow becomes lighter later Monday as it spreads south and east across Illinois.

The snow event ends Monday night even though a few stray flurries are still possible Tuesday morning.

Here are the snowfall amounts I’m forecasting.  Keep in mind that these numbers could shift north or south this weekend as newer information comes in.  I’ll adjust my forecast accordingly.

Snow Forecast Sunday & Monday.jpg

So, just find your hometown and that’s how much snow you’ll have to shovel.  The kids may finally get to build a “snowperson” and go sledding after a boring winter without much snow!

The good news is that the first half of the weekend will be quiet to give you a chance to get your errands done!

I hope the stores stocked up for the run on milk, eggs, bread, and toilet paper!  (I guess “Bumble” can’t be trusted with fragile eggs!)

Snow's a comin'

Finally, while I don’t believe in the fairy tale of “Punxsutawney Phil”, the Pennsylvania groundhog that predicted six more weeks of winter, some people do (I’m looking at you, James!)

Jimmie the Groundhog Wisconsin

When the snow starts flying later Sunday, it’ll have been 5 weeks and 3 days since “Phil” saw his shadow and made his snowy forecast — just inside the “six more weeks of winter” window! 🙂


Yes, More Snow! But, Leave The Groundhog Alone!

AFTERNOON UPDATE:  Saturday, March 23, 2013, 2:52 p.m.

A “Winter Weather Advisory” goes into effect at midnight tonight and runs through 7 p.m. for the following counties in Iowa:  Des Moines, Henry, and Lee, and for the Illinois counties of Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, and Warren.  For Knox and Stark counties, that “Winter Weather Advisory” runs from 1 a.m Sunday until 1 a.m. Monday.

As for snow amounts, I think based on the latest information that we should shave about an inch off  the totals from the Quad Cities northward and about 2″ off the totals in the far south.  That still means about an inch north to about 1-3″ in the Quad Cities and along Interstate 80, and about 2-4″ south.  Isolated higher totals are still possible.

Have a great rest of your weekend.


ORIGINAL POST:  Saturday, March 23, 2013, 9:23 a.m.

I’m a firm believer that people (even politicians) can change or, at least, educate themselves to see both sides of an argument.

Earlier in the week, I got on the bandwagon with many others of blaming our late season cold and upcoming snow on Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania groundhog, that made his forecast February 2nd that we’d see an early spring!

It’s gotten out of hand.  There have been calls for him to be brought up on criminal charges, he’s wanted dead or alive, and there are even pictures on Facebook that he’s been attacked and injured!


I apologize for blaming him for our weather misfortunes:  In the Quad Cities, this March, our temperatures have not even hit 50°once and are running 8.3° below average, and, as of this writing, this is the sixth coldest March on record in the metro area and those records go back to the late-1800s!

Now, the madness has to stop!


Phil is right.  He was never trained to analyze weather charts, satellites, radars, and learn the physics of the atmosphere.  How dare humans take this cuddly little critter and put so much pressure on him!

As a meteorologist, I’ve blown a forecast before and I’ll do it again.  And, with that being said, there are other meteorologists that blow every storm out of proportion and every snow event becomes the “storm of the century” and every spring thunderstorm develops tornadic potential.  Do people hold those forecasters to the same ridicule as Phil?   No!

But, I’ll say that it’s pretty bad when you make only one forecast a year and you’re wrong.  That doesn’t do much for your forecasting accuracy!  It’s either 0% or 100%, so you can’t afford to be wrong.  You just have to hide out again for another year!

So, with that being said, let’s ease up a little on that Pennsylvania rodent and talk about the snow potential here in eastern Iowa and northern Illinois tonight and Sunday.

As of Saturday morning, a “Winter Storm Watch” goes into effect later this evening for counties just south of the Quad Cities.  I do expect this “Watch” to become a “Winter Weather Advisory” later today and for the aerial coverage to expand northward.

Here’s the bottom line:  Nice weather is expected today with mostly sunny skies giving way to increasing clouds from south to north.  Highs will make it to 35°-40° far north, 40°-45° in the Quad Cities, and 42°-47° in the far south.

A rain and snow mix will develop later this evening across the south and progress northward.  With the relatively mild day and warm ground in the south, snow accumulations will not begin until later tonight.

Snow will fall tonight and most of Sunday before winding down Sunday night from southwest to northeast across the area.

My snow forecast totals (or “snotals”) have not changed from when I first brought them to you Friday morning on “CBS4 News This Morning” (and for those watch us, thank you).

As with any winter storm event, there could be a few isolated higher totals.

Enjoy your weekend and make the best of this snow.  For those that are ready for spring, this could be the last snow of the season.  For those that want the snow, it might not be. 🙂

For Phil’s sake, I hope it’s the last snow.  I can’t keep blogging in his defense if real spring weather doesn’t arrive soon!


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?