Why Do Groundhogs Get To Decide The Weather?

Once a year our weather is not predicted by a weatherman or a Doppler Radar. Once a year we throw out hundreds of years of weather patterns and advanced technology and allow the weather to be predicted by a groundhog named Phil.

Makes you Wonder Why.

Since Groundhogs Day was on Sunday, today I am wondering where that tradition comes from and if Phil he is so great at predicting the weather, why doesn’t he get to decide the weather all year round?

According to Wikipedia, the legend of Groundhogs Day and Punxsutawney Phil dates back to 1887.

That is understandable. I’m guessing the only weather predicting technology that existed back then was kinda like how your dad can sense a storm coming based on the soreness he feels in his knees.

So it made sense to let an animal predict the weather back then.

Wikipedia goes on to explain that the Groundhog Day celebration is rooted in a Celtic tradition that says if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on February 2, the Pagan holiday of Imbolc, winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow was seen, legend says spring would come early.

According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Phil, after making the prediction, speaks to the Club President in “Groundhogese”, which only the current president can understand, and then his prediction is translated for the entire world.

Wait what??

There is a Punxsutawney Groundhog Club? What do they do for the other 364 days of the year? I guess maybe they practice their Groundhogese.

The article also mentions that there is a select group within the Groundhog Club, called the Inner Circle. This group takes care of Phil year-round and is recognizable by their top hats and tuxedos.

Sounds like some crazy secret society that Sherlock Holmes would have to infiltrate to solve a mystery.

(Feel free to use that idea, Benedict Cumberbatch)

This year Punxsutawney Phil predicted that there will be six more weeks of winter.

The way he predicted the next six weeks makes me think that Phil might be a fan of Blog By Bake. He issued his prediction in the form of a rhyme (according to Yahoo).

“A Super Bowl winner I will not predict,

But my weather forecast, you cannot contradict,

That’s not a football lying beside me

It’s my shadow you see

So, six more weeks of winter it shall be!”

That’s fun!

According to the Inner Circle, Phil has now seen his shadow 101 times while failing to see it 17 times.

Apparently, the National Climatic Data Center tracks Phil’s forecasts and found them to be “sorely lacking,” declaring the groundhog has “no predictive skill.”

“It really isn’t a ‘bright’ idea to take a measure such as a groundhog’s shadow and use it as a predictive meteorological tool for the entire United States,” the data center says on its website.

But who are we to question the Inner Circle.

Wonder Why Wednesday copyClick the image above for more Wonder Why Wednesday posts.

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