Groundhog Day: The rodent’s track record in New Jersey
Tuesday, Feb. 2 is Groundhog Day. That silly groundhog Punxsutawney Phil gets snatched out of his hole to see if he sees his shadow. If Phil the groundhog sees his shadow, there’s six more weeks of winter. No shadow means spring is on its way. With the near foot of snow we’re scheduled to get, I’m not so sure we’re even going to be able to see Phil this year, never mind his shadow.
The fact that there will be nearly a foot of snow at Gobblers Creek, home of the celebrated groundhog gives me a big clue that winter will still be here. There’s a big question about the validity of Phil and his shadow. As you would expect, I did a little homework to see the track record of the famed rodent. Just how accurate are his predictions?
On February 2, 2019 at 7:25 a.m. Phil did not see his shadow meaning that there will be an early spring. Nope temperatures plummeted here in New Jersey in late March with an average high of 33 degrees. Sorry Phil!
On February 2, 2018 at 7:25 a.m. Phil saw his shadow indicating six more weeks of winter. Nope, average temperature here in New Jersey was 47 degrees with a March 2018 high temperature of 62. No snow, some rain but a seasonably warm six weeks.
On February 2, 2017 Phil saw his shadow which means six more weeks of winter. Ah, nope. Record high temperatures here in New Jersey hitting into the 60s, some rain no snow with an average temperature for the six weeks over 50 degrees.
On February 2, 2016 Phil didn’t see his shadow meaning spring is near. Well what do you know, he got it. A few days in the high 30s but mostly 40s 50s and 60s including a high of 73 over the six weeks! Way to go Phil!
The tradition of Punxsutawney Phil started in 1886 when Groundhog Day made an appearance in the local paper and the very first trek to Gobblers Creek took place. 135 years later Groundhog Day has grown to where people from around the world trek to the little town in Western PA to see that sleepy groundhog Phil being excavated from his hole.
This year will be a little different. I went on the website to see how the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club was going to handle the large celebration amidst COVID-19 and this is what was posted:
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club is currently planning for Groundhog Day 2021 with COVID-19, we are unsure what the celebration will look like. But- Phil will be making his annual prediction on February 2nd 2021. Keep checking back for details as it is an ever-changing situation.
After further checking they are going to hold the shadow revealing groundhog by virtual means. You'll be able to watch the event at groundhog.org, Punxsutawney Phil's facebook page or YouTube channel.
Phil and Groundhog Day are a tradition that makes this time of year fun. The good news is that Phil will be coming out of his hole Tuesday the 2nd, I hope with a mask, who cares if he sees his shadow, it’s just nice to see the little fella. Happy Groundhog Day!