Sunday, February 2, 2014

Groundhogs predict 6 more weeks of winter

“A Super Bowl winner I will not predict,
But my weather forecast, you cannot contradict,
That’s not a football lying beside me
It’s my shadow you see
So, six more weeks of winter it shall be!”

Groundhog Day has its origins in an ancient celebration of Candlemas, a point midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, according to the climate center. The superstition holds that fair weather on the day foretells a stormy and cold second half to winter.

"If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again."

Germans used hedgehogs to predict weather and groundhogs were the closest mammal Germans could find here in the US.
English farmers believed February "breeds" weather for the rest of the year.

Punxsutawney Phil, the world's most famous fuzzy forecaster, popped out of his burrow this morning in western Pennsylvania to predict what our weather will be like for the next six weeks. Since it was a sunny morning, Phil saw his shadow and would have retreated back into his burrow, if not for the crowds gathered to observe the event, indicating winter will continue for six more weeks. If had been cloudy when the groundhog appeared, the critter would left his burrow, signifying that winter would soon end. (In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by a group called the Inner Circle, whose members don top hats and tuxedos for the annual ceremony on Gobbler’s Knob, the tiny hill in the town for which he’s named about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.)

An analysis of weather data from the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., shows that Phil's forecasts are, on average, inaccurate, the groundhog being right 10 times and wrong 15 times from 1988 to 2012.

Jimmy the Groundhog, who lives closer by in Sun Prairie, Wi, has been more accurate in his predictions. (Some believe he is one of the most accurate Groundhogs in the world)!  Jimmy also saw his shadow, predicting 6 more weeks of winter as well.  
Jimmy (on left) in Sun Prairie, WI, sees his shadow
predicting 6 more weeks of winter.
YearJimmy’s PredictionRightWrong
2011Early SpringRight
2010Early SpringRight
20096 More WeeksRight
2008Early SpringRight
20076 More WeeksRight
2006Early SpringRight
2005Early SpringWrong
2004Early SpringRight
2003Early SpringWrong
20026 More WeeksRight
20016 More WeeksRight
2000Early SpringRight
1999Early SpringRight
19986 More WeeksRight
1997Early SpringWrong
19966 More WeeksRight
1995Early SpringRight
1994Early SpringWrong

Given the unseasonably cold winter being experienced by large parts of the country as the Polar Vortex brought cold winds south from the north, weather forecasters would be likely to predict the same this year. High temperatures for the next 5 days are predicted to be 7-16 degrees below the normal highs for this time of year in Sherwood, WI, with lows 5-19 degrees below the normal lows.


Partly Cloudy 
 Partly Cloudy
      Mostly Cloudy
 Partly Cloudy

Records and Normals


No comments:

Post a Comment