While everyone will be waiting with bated breath on February 2nd, Groundhog Day (also known as Candlemas Day), to see what the famous groundhog in Pennsylvania predicts for the remainder of the winter, all of us at Farmers’ Almanac will be sitting back smiling. After all, we have the forecast for the next 6 weeks — and 6 months!
Predicting the weather is no easy task. Even meteorologists who use the most updated radar satellite tracking systems often get it wrong, even though they are predicting only 24 hours ahead of time. It’s the one thing that none of us can predict with 100% accuracy because, ultimately, Mother Nature is in charge.
We find it refreshing that in this world of instant communication and high tech weather apps, the groundhog still gets plenty of attention for being able to predict what’s in store for the next 6 weeks. And according to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day (no shadow), then spring will come early; if it is sunny, and the groundhog sees its shadow, winter weather will persist for six more weeks.
For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far the snow will swirl until May;
For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,
So far will the sun shine before May.
We love folklore and often find it to be surprisingly accurate (did you know other animals have weather forecasting abilities? Take a look here.), however, the Farmers’ Almanac’s long-range weather forecasts are not based on folklore but rather a set of rules that take many astronomical and mathematical factors into consideration.
Will spring come early?
If you have your copy of the 2017 Farmers’ Almanac handy, you’ll see that we have a very frigid February forecast for most areas of North America, forewarning of temperatures of -40º F in some areas! Spring weather will not be arriving anytime soon. In fact, be sure to check out what we’re predicting for the middle of the month.
The good news? Farmers’ Almanac forecasts do predict a very timely transition to spring when it officially starts with the equinox on March 20th. Check our your zone’s forecast here, or get spring, summer, and next fall’s forecast in the 2017 edition.
Happy Groundhog’s Day! We, too, will be watching to see what the sleepy marmot predicts, but shadow or no, we won’t be putting away our winter coats anytime soon.