Every February 2nd, a groundhog named Phil emerges from his burrow in Pennsylvania to predict the weather for the rest of the winter season. Legend states, if Phil sees his shadow, then there will be six more weeks of winter. If Phil does not see his shadow, spring will arrive early.
The USA Today reports, this morning at 7:20am, Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow proclaimed another six weeks of winter. How is that so?
For many this year, especially here in the Hudson Valley, this year’s mild weather feels like spring is already in the air. Yesterday’s temperatures in Albany reached a high of 58 degrees. Wow!
- The National Climatic Data Center reports the groundhogs prediction accuracy rate is around 39%.
- The groundhog is one of the few mammals that are true winter hibernators. Their breathing slows and heart rate falls to 4 beats per minute.
- Thegroundhog is in the Sciuridae family, which embraces all tree squirrels, ground squirrels, prairie dogs and marmots.
- Groundhogs are most active during daylight hours. During the warmer months they forage for grasses, flowers and cultivated crops.
- If disturbed groundhogs will stand erect and motionless for to identify the danger and may emit a shrill whistle when alarmed.
- Groundhogs can infest favorable habitats, especially alfalfa and clover hay fields, at a rate of as many as 10 chucks per acre.