Groundhog climatology

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In this day and age most people use the Internet to get their weather forecast, but if you were to ask a member of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club they’d tell you there’s no better seer or prognosticator of the weather than the Marmota monax. The history of Groundhog Day stretches back to the late 1880’s, however the idea was only really popularized with Harold Ramis’ film Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray.

It’s a straightforward event. On the morning of April 2, the groundhog will emerge from his cave: if he sees his own shadow and runs back inside, six more weeks of winter are in store. If the he remains outside, however, then an early spring is just around the corner. This past year Punxsutawney Phil, the town’s residing marmot, foresaw a long winter in the U.S., which may well turn out to be accurate if the current weather persists.