Best D.C. Weather Updates… and Groundhog Shadows

by February 1, 2011 at 11:45 am 1,504 0

Borderstan Neil MacLean

Image by Neil MacLean. (

More winter weather is underway or on the way. Where to go for weather news — especially closings, delays and reschedulings?

  • Several of the major news outlets in the area provide good weather coverage: The Washington Post, and News Channel 8/TBD (28 on local Comcast) all provide good local weather coverage.
  • But when it comes to comprehensive, updated lists closings, delays and reschedulings, I always go with WTOP Radio’s website: They list schools, government (of various types, D.C., federal, states) as well as events and meetings.

With tomorrow expected to be a rather nasty weather day, what does this mean for the goundhog? Each February 2 is Groundhog Dog (yes, just like in the 1993 movie). Folklore states that if a groundhog sees his/her shadow on February 2 that we an expect six more weeks of winter. No shadow means an early spring.

Wouldn’t you think it would be the opposite? If it’s a sunny day, you’d think that might be some sort of prediction that spring will come sooner? What what do I know. Wikipedia says the tradition of predicting a longer winter or an earlier spring based on whether a groundhog sees his shadow started among Pennsylvania Germans:

“The holiday, which began as a Pennsylvania German custom in southeastern and central Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, has its origins in ancient European weather lore, wherein a badger or sacred bear is the prognosticator as opposed to a groundhog. The holiday also bears some similarities to the medieval Catholic holiday of Candlemas. It also bears similarities to the Pagan festival of Imbolc, the seasonal turning point of the Celtic calendar, which is celebrated on February 1 and also involves weather prognostication.”

So for Wednesday, February 2, hope for nasty cloudy weather — if you follow the groundhog.


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