Weather Buzz

Groundhog not only animal forecasting weather

Groundhog Day is Feb. 2, and on that day, for some reason, the country looks to an overgrown rodent for its long-term weather forecast for the remainder of the winter.

Punxsutawney Phil is the most popular groundhog, but there are many others across the country, and the legend states if he sees his shadow, we’ll have six more weeks of winter.

Throughout the course of time, however, people have looked to more than just the groundhog for a long-term forecast.

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Long before the National Weather Service was created, people would look at goose bones.

Families would cook and eat a goose in November. They’d carefully remove the breastbone and leave it to dry. The bone’s color would then determine what kind of winter was ahead.

A man in Saskatchewan, Canada has been looking at pig spleens every fall to predict the weather for the upcoming winter.

Other families looked to the woolly bear caterpillar, gauging winter’s severity on the width of the brown band.

These are just a few examples of humans looking to the animals around us to get an idea of what to expect in long-term weather forecasts.

As with all of these methods, it’s probably best we take the groundhog’s word with a grain of salt and a whole lot of fun. After all, Punxsutawney Phil has only been right 39 percent of the time.

Winter, however, is guaranteed to end with the first day of spring on March 20, but we could get a taste of the warmer season before then.

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