Monday, February 4, 2013

Groundhog forecast: more winter

This weekend, famous weather prognosticator and Lilburn resident Gen. Beauregard Lee announced that winter is not quite over yet:
According to weather lore, if the groundhog sees his shadow on Feb. 2, there will be six more weeks of winter. No shadow means that spring is just around the corner. Read the article and see photos of Beau at work @ AJC.
Beau's northern counterpart, Punxsutawney Phil, did not see his shadow and called for an early spring. Astronomically speaking, Beau is correct--the spring equinox is on March 20 which means 6+ weeks of winter left.

Meteorologically speaking, Wikipedia does not place a whole lot of faith on rodent weather reports:
According to Groundhog Day organizers, the rodents' forecasts are accurate 75% to 90% of the time. However, a Canadian study for 13 cities in the past 30 to 40 years found that the weather patterns predicted on Groundhog Day were only 37% accurate over that time period—a value not significant compared to the 33% that could occur by chance. According to the StormFax Weather Almanac and records kept since 1887, Punxsutawney Phil's weather predictions have been correct 39% of the time.  The National Climatic Data Center has described the forecasts as "on average, inaccurate" and stated that "The groundhog has shown no talent for predicting the arrival of spring, especially in recent years."