Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The Question of the Winter Ahead

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Society 

Ed Hessler

According to the legend that if a certain woodchuck in Punxsutawney, PA, named Phil, does not see his shadow spring will come early. The date of the prediction is February 2.

Today Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow so six more weeks of winter are ahead. Here, another day without significant shadows although I understand there will be sun this afternoon, one thing we know is that there are certainly six weeks of winter ahead, including a week of very cold weather (or more) staring at us.

The event was held virtually this year due to the pandemic. ABC News reports on the event, its past and includes a video. By the way "Phil's actual prediction takes place ahead of time in a place called Gobbler's Knob, a small hill just outside of the town, and has done so each year since 1887. 2021 marks the 135th time the event has occurred, according to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office." And if you are keeping track, 100 of those predictions have been made for six more weeks of winter.

The ABC report mentioned that there is an official Groundshog Day cookie, something I didn't know. Here is the recipe. You will  not be surprised to learn that the Punxsutawney Area Chamber of Commerce has an official gift shop which you can see here. Wiki, of course, has an entry on Punxsutawney Phil (it notes it is in need of work on verification) where you can also see how well the groundshog's have done over the years. So far about 35-40% accurate in spite of claims to the contrary. There is a gap in the record book--10 are missing.

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