The Insignificance of Groundhog Day
February 2, 2011 1 Comment
There should be a latitudinal cutoff point for the significance of groundhog day. For those of you who have been living in a cave for the past 30 years, let me reiterate the rules of this absurd event. Basically every year on February 2nd, Groundhog Day, a groundhog (in each region) is supposed to come out of its hole, look around and take note of whether it sees its shadow or not. If it sees its shadow then there will be 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, an early spring will result.
First of all, I don’t quite understand the significance of the whole shadow thing. And how can one particular day being sunny or not affect the weather six weeks into the future? And why a groundhog? Why can’t it be something cool like an owl or a porcupine?
Anyways, this morning Manitoba Merv (which is a puppet, yes a puppet, not even a real groundhog) strolled out of Oak Hammock Marsh’s tickle trunk, into the frosty morning air and, since it was sunny this morning, saw his shadow. Six more weeks of winter. Like we already didn’t know that! We’re lucky if it’s not 7 or 8 weeks, let alone an early spring.
For instance, back in 1999 I went to Acapulco for a winter get-away. I returned from the trip around March 12th or something like that. When we flew over Manitoba we couldn’t believe that we could see all of the fields and NO SNOW. Apparently it had reached +14 C (57 F) and all of the snow melted during those few days. That, is about as early a spring as we could ever hope to achieve. And let’s see, February 2nd to March 12th is 5 1/2 weeks.
Obviously Groundhog Day doesn’t apply to Manitoba so I’m not sure why we even do it. It frustrates me that whoever is in charge of doing this ridiculous tradition potentially gets everyone’s hopes up that we may experience some nice weather when in fact, the reality is that we’re lucky if winter doesn’t creep into April. I’ve seen lots of snow in May for cryin’ out loud.
Here’s a map where Groundhog Day should be observed, in my opinion. Everywhere inside the orange area should just hunker down and shiver for another couple of months.
Happy Groundhog Day everyone. Now where’s my touque?!