On my grumpier days, the whole Weather Channel hoopla about the Pennsylvania groundhog is a bit much for me. [Wait a minute, the Weather Channel has a cool job opening in NYC.
I take back every bad thing I ever said about TWC! (Really, I actually like TWC, especially Weather Underground.) ]
Back to the ground hog. The hole groundhog thing is a Nationwide joke that we are all part of. It’s played for all the camp they can and it’s really better to enjoy the ride and not be hot and bothered over it, no matter how cold it is out.
One point – is there science in any of this? Let’s take a minute and see this from the groundhog’s point of view and the overall weather picture. If we see a groundhog shadow in early February, it likely to be on a clear, sunny day. Most winter clear days are clear and cold due to an arctic air mass. If this day is indicative of the general flow of the jet stream, we would be in for more arctic air masses and ‘six more weeks of winter’. If the shadow is not visible, it’s likely because it’s cloudy out and that means warmer, moister air is likely to be riding northward. So, if that continues, winter is “over”.
I have not researched if the groundhog cares a whit about this. Of course, this is an oral weather tradition passed on (by people) in a concise story format.
Note the present weather situation in North America, where the central and eastern United States are in a polar deep freeze and the jet stream is predicted play ‘crack the whip’ and bring a +55 degree change in temperature by early next week. I’ve seen rapid changes in temperature in the past (story for another day), but perhaps this groundhog thing and persistence of conditions from early February into March is a thing of the past as the new abnormal caused by humans playing with the climate thermostat means larger week to week changes are more likely?