On February 2nd, people in the U.S. and Canada celebrate Groundhog Day, which revolves around a tradition of the forecast for the remaining weeks of winter, made by the rodent after which the day was named. Climatologists say that, this year, groundhogs could predict the weather with accuracy.

 

Groundhog can predict more winter weather if it sees its shadow, folklore says.
Photo: Getty Images

 

February 2nd, Groundhog Day, marks the middle of winter in North America. Legend says that the groundhog gets out of its den and, according to its behavior, people will know if to expect more winter days or if they can enjoy sunny warmer weather soon. If the groundhog does not see its shadow, due to clouds crowding in the ski, then an early spring is in the cards. If the rodent sees its shadow on and turns back to its den, then six more weeks of winter are to come.

Even though many don’t necessarily believe in the accuracy of the climatic prediction that defines Groundhog Day, people are excited to follow the tradition and watch the rodent’s behavior on this day.

However, based on satellite weather predictions, climatologists believe that the groundhog is most likely to predict the weather accurately, through its behavior, this year.

“There’s a greater chance winter will be over [in Eastern Canada] because of the milder conditions in February and March, compared to out west, where it looks cooler or at least near normal”, explains climatologist David Phillips, from Environment Canada. “So in many ways it may be that we’re in bed with the ground hog.”

To clear the mist around the magic of the groundhog’s superpower of prognosticating winter, Phillips says that, in fact, the percentage of time when groundhogs have been right about the weather was only 37%.

Moreover, they rarely leave their den on February 2 and if they do, they are on the lookout for a mate. Most of them are “coaxed out of their den”.