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Punxsutawney (PA) Phil prognosticates 6 more weeks of winter

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On 2/3/2018 at 11:53 PM, NJCubScouter said:

Actually, to be fair to the groundhog, a prediction by a human meteorologist about what the weather is going to be six weeks from now is worth about as much as the groundhog’s prediction.

Maybe even less.  Phil's accuracy is about 36% from 1969 to 2016.

I've heard it said that being a weatherperson is the only job in the world where you can be wrong 95% of the time and still make more that $250K per year.

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On 2/3/2018 at 10:38 PM, The Latin Scot said:

Ah, the yearly meteorological meanderings of the marmota monax ...

Remind me why we  get six me weeks of winter if he sees his shadow - doesn't that mean the sun is in fact shining, which should be indicative of impending spring, yet an overcast sky means he doesn't see his shadow, and thus somehow, more winter? 

This is why I would never trust the weather with an overgrown rodent. :laugh:

The legend is that if he sees his shadow, he gets scared and runs back to his burrow to continue to hibernate.  If he doesn't see his shadow, he doesn't get scared and he stops hibernating.

In the real world, make groundhogs emerge sometime in February to find a mate.  Once they have mated, the go back in to hibernation until sometime in March.

The tradition of Groundhog Day started in post-Catholic Germany.  Until Germany became a mostly protestant nation, the German's celebrated Candlemas Day (conveniently on February 2) where the Catholic Church would bless and distribute candles for "second winter".  The candles represented how much longer winter would last.  The Protestant churches did not celebrate Candlemas day so rural Germans adapted the weather forecasting part of the day into an animal prediction based celebration using badgers as the animal of choice.

It is no accident that Groundhog Day originated in Pennsylvania, specifically around the Pennsylvania Dutch areas of the state - lots of Germans settled there, and brought their traditions with them.  It was celebrated earlier than the famed "First Groundhog Day" in Punxsutawney, but they were small local celebrations amongst neighboring farmers.  The Punxsutawney Groundhog Day was created by the Puxsutawney Elks Club, mostly as a replacement for their Groundhog Feast which was held in September.  With more readily available farm raised meats, they decided that it was no longer worth it to hunt groundhogs for their feast.  They still had their feast in September but mostly with pork and chicken instead and not wanting to lose their association with the groundhog, they modified the German candlemas day badger day tradition using the groundhog.

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