Well, the groundhog didn’t see his shadow, or at least most of them didn’t. Hopefully, the folklore is true and we’ll have an early spring. We need it.
Groundhog day is an important day in my household. I’m truly happy for the hoopla associated with the day. It also is my wife’s birthday, and the attention given the groundhog serves as a reminder that I had better be looking for a card and gift.
Groundhog day comes at a dismal time of the year when most of us also need a reminder that spring will come. However, the groundhog doesn’t have a good record of predicting the arrival of spring.
The world's most famous groundhog predicted an early spring.
Punxsutawney Phil emerged around dawn on Groundhog Day on Wednesday to make his 125th annual weather forecast in front of thousands who braved muddy, icy conditions to hear his handlers reveal that Pennsylvania's prophetic rodent had not seen his shadow.
Phil's support team, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's Inner Circle, concoct the forecasts. Several thousand revelers gathered before dawn on a small hill called Gobbler's Knob to hear the prediction.
Before this year’s Groundhog Day, Phil had seen his shadow 98 times and hadn't seen it 15 times since 1887. There are no records for the remaining years, though the group has never failed to issue a forecast.
According to the Stormfax Almanac, Phil is only correct 39 percent of the time. But in Phil’s defense, professional weather forecasters have difficulty predicting three days in advance, let along six weeks.
Seems to me, no matter what Phil’s prediction, weather generally starts to improve in mid-March, and not much before.
The groundhog also is known as a woodchuck, and in some areas is called a land beaver. It is a member of the rodent family, belonging to a group of large ground squirrels, known as marmots. They are found from Canada to Alabama.
Phil is the best-known of the weather predicting groundhogs. He makes his predictions from Punxsutawney, Pa. In Canada, his counterpart is Wiarton Willie from Wiarton, Ontario. A famous southern groundhog, based at a game ranch outside of Atlanta, Ga., is General Beauregard Lee. As far as I know, there are no famous groundhog forecasters in southern Indiana. I don’t know of a Marian Hill Mike or Poseyville Pete.