This Thursday is Groundhog Day, a day when groups of people across North America pluck unsuspecting woodchucks from their burrows in the hopes of finding out whether or not winter will end early. Groundhog Day has its roots in Candlemas, also known as Imbolc, the midpoint on the calendar between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. An old bit of weather lore says that sunny skies on this day foretells a long winter, while grey skies indicate that spring is on the way. And so the tradition of groundhog seeing his shadow was born. Of course, with the glare of hundreds of cameras trained on him, it would be a miracle if Punxsutawney Phil – or any of North America’s other prognosticating groundhogs – didn’t see his shadow.
Instead waiting until Thursday for a weather prediction from a sleepy marmot (after all, groundhogs are supposed to be hibernating at this time of year), why not find out right now what we’re predicting for the next six weeks.
As many of you have pointed out here on our website, and elsewhere, this winter has gotten off to a really slow start, which is precisely what we predicted. We called for mild temperatures in much of North America, and very few storms in December or January, even in those areas that we said would be very wet or white. That may lead some of you to believe that Old Man winter will pass by without making himself known, but that’s not what we saw when we compiled our long-range forecast more than two years ago. In fact, we think this winter will come on in full force over the next few weeks, with a few wide-reaching storms predicted through the month of February.
We’re calling for heavy snow, with accumulation of up to a foot, over the Midwest, Canadian prairies, Rocky Mountains, and Pacific Northwest next week, and an equally heavy snowfall for Eastern Canada, New England, and the Mid-Atlantic closer to the middle of the month. Elsewhere, we see plenty of light snow throughout the month.
Moving into March, we’re predicting a little more snow for New England, with heavy rain showers elsewhere. March will probably feel more like spring than winter in many areas, but a wet, chilly spring. Look for a few flurries in Ontario near the official start of spring, a parting gift from Old Man Winter as he packs it in for another year
For more detailed predictions for your region, be sure to check out our long-range forecast!