Groundhog predicts more winter weather

By Linda Warchal

With blue skies and sunny weather, the groundhog came out Sunday and was greeted by his shadow, which according to folklore means more winter weather is on the way.

According to the popular tradition in the United States, each Feb. 2 the groundhog, or sometimes the woodchuck, comes out of its hole after a winter’s hibernation and searches for its shadow.

If the groundhog sees the shadow, it’s supposedly an omen for six more weeks of winter weather. A cloudy day signifies that spring is on the way.

The tradition can sometimes include the bear or badger and it stems from a belief held in England associated with Candlemas, also on Feb. 2.

But because Sunday was sunny, the animal did cast a shadow, said a Brookfield Zoo official.

But statistical evidence does not support the myth. Joe Librizzi, a National Weather Service forecaster, said another mild day can be expected today.

Precipitation is below normal so the weather is warmer and drier, Librizzi said. He added that he expects at least one more snowfall sometime this season.

The temperatures this season have been much above normal. “January was 8 degrees above normal the entire month,” Librizzi said.