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Every year we hear about the Groundhog Day weather predictions. Is there any validity to them?
Cindy H., Franklin Park
In American folklore, Groundhog Day is an indicator of the weather for the remainder of the winter. The hibernating groundhog digs out of his burrow at sunrise on Feb. 2, so the legend goes. If he sees his shadow (a sunny morning), he heads back into his burrow, thereby indicating another six weeks of wintry weather. A cloudy morning creates no shadow, so the groundhog stays out, indicating an early start to spring. The Feb. 2 appearance of Punxsutawney Phil in Punxsutawney, Penn., is the most popular of many Groundhog Day celebrations. Locally, a ceremony is held in Woodstock where the Harold Ramis classic film “Groundhog Day” was filmed. Is the legend reliable? The American Meteorological Society says, “There is no convincing statistical evidence to support this belief.”