We’ll Have an Early Spring

Groundhog (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

3 February 2024

Yesterday I was in an airplane flying home from Southern Africa when a North American marmot (Marmota monax) predicted how long winter will last. The groundhog said we’ll have an early spring.

Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring Friday in Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania, the scene of the country’s largest and best known Groundhog Day celebration in the United States.

The annual event is a tongue-in-cheek ritual in which Phil’s handlers, members of a club with roots in the late 19th century, reveal whether the groundhog has seen his shadow.

Just after sunrise Friday, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club announced Phil did not see his shadow, which will usher in early springlike weather. The groundhog seeing his shadow presages six more weeks of winter, according to the group.

WESA FM: Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring at Groundhog Day festivities

Sunshine is so rare during western Pennsylvania winters that we celebrate whenever we see shadows. However there is one day per year — 2 February — when we’re happy to have clouds.

Yesterday at sunrise in Punxsutawney the clouds were thickly overcast at 900 feet so there was no way Phil could see his shadow. An early spring! The crowd went wild.

Now that we’re over that hurdle, I’m looking forward to sunshine for the next five days.

Read more about Groundhog Day at WESA: Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring at Groundhog Day festivities.

(photo from Wikimedia Commons)

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