So are you hoping for an early spring? This is that famous time of year when the warm weather fans root for cloudy skies and few shadows. Today is Groundhog Day, a part of weather folklore that is dated as far back as the 1700s. This was when the Delaware Indians first settled in Punxsutawney, PA. Their belief was that the groundhogs were honorable ancestors.
This first link to weather prediction is attributed to a celebration introduced by early German settlers known as Candlemas Day. This day arrived in-between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. If February 2nd brought sunny skies it was believed that six more weeks of winter could be expected. The German settlers believed that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day an animal would cast a shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter. The Germans originally chose the badger as the official animal but in Pennsylvania the groundhog was chosen.
So how accurate is the groundhog? According to records, Punxsutawney Phil has only been correct 39% of the time. Since 2000 there have been only three Groundhog Days in which he did not see his shadow and that includes today. Of-course we now have our own little woodchuck to help with the forecast, local celebrity “Birmingham Bill.” Perhaps he will choose to stay outside today?
Fox6 Meteorologist Wes Wyatt