It’s Groundhog Day! Sure, the results are inconsistent and entirely unsupported by the scientific community at large, but hey, since when has that stopped the American public from believing anything before? Especially when the news is convenient for us and purportedly means we’ll all be able to pack away our winter clothes earlier than expected.
For the fifth year in a row, Staten Island Chuck, the groundhog and reluctant meteorologist whose apparent clairvoyance we rely on to determine the weather, has emerge from his hovel, cleared the sleep from his eyes, and looked back without seeing his shadow. Meaning, of course, that’s a wrap on winter y’all!
Further west in Pennsylvania at Gobbler’s Knob, Punxsutawney Phil poked his head out to greet the thousands of people who gathered around him like a rodent-Jesus at Bethsaida. But, rather than multiply loaves and fishes which I’m sure many in the crowd would have appreciated after waiting all night for the meteorological messiah, he instead delivered a different kind of bounty, the news that spring was imminent. Hallelujah, I say, amen.
Phil and Chuck’s predictions (which, by the way, sounds like a great name for an animated movie about magic groundhogs, your move Disney), were obviously met with elation by the crowds that waited for them. Historically, they haven’t always agreed with each other, because, well, they are groundhogs and not actual meteorologists, but it’s nice to see that even during these divisive times people from different parts of the country can come together and find common ground. Even if those people are actually marmots.
It’s worth noting that although the groundhogs came to consensus, the accuracy of their predictions does leave something to be desired (again, they’re marmots people). Naturally New Yorkers, never ones to shy away from proclaiming their own superiority, have placed Chuck’s accuracy level at 80%, whereas according to the NOAA, Phil’s sits somewhere at around 40%. For what it’s worth, 40% accuracy is a more generous percentage than I would give the average local weather person, or Apple Weather for that matter.
And while thousands gathered to watch the announcement, not everyone is so psyched about our furry friends annual press conference. PETA recently called for Phill to be replaced with an AI version of himself, so as to protect the animal. Call me crazy, but that just sounds like the Weather Channel?
For his part in assuaging PETA’s concerns, Mayor Bill de Blasio skipped out on the ceremony for the fifth time in a row, having not returned to the site where in 2014 he dropped Charlotte (the female groundhog playing Chuck, who really should have just been able to use her name in my opinion), which resulted in her dying from internal injuries a week later. “I’ve been advised by wildlife experts to stay in a 5-mile radius away from any groundhogs for their own protection.” de Blasio said.
Regardless of whether or not you believe in the magic of the marmots, five years of short winter predictions sounds like a whole lot of support for the evidence of a climate crisis to me. If the Trump administration won’t listen to scientist, maybe they’ll have an easier time getting on board with what Phil and Chuck are saying. And if you’d like to get in on the magic yourself, but weren’t able to be in Philadelphia, please enjoy this absolutely unhinged 17 minute long video of the ceremony. After watching this, if I were Phil I’d only make an appearance one a year too.