Well, the groundhogs have spoken, and I choose to believe them even though their accuracy rate has only been about 37% in the past. (It’s still better than random chance, which is 33% according to an internet article I found… but then again, statistics are made up on the spot about 80% of the time.)
Still, we clever humans only manage to forecast the weather accurately about 40% of the time around here, so the groundhogs aren’t doing too badly.
You have to wonder about the science of weather prediction when a burrowing rodent is as likely to be right as a high-tech computer, but it’s really not the computer’s fault. In our crazy little microclimate around Calgary, our weather guys and gals can predict pretty much anything and get it both right and wrong in the same day. So why shouldn’t a groundhog have a go at it?
And speaking of ‘having a go at it’, I was disillusioned to discover that Groundhog Day isn’t the innocent G-rated celebration we’ve been led to believe. Nope, it’s all about sex. Apparently groundhogs aren’t taking their weather-related responsibilities seriously; they’re just scoping out the chicks. I feel so betrayed. *sigh*
Our two most famous Canadian groundhogs, Shubenacadie Sam and Wiarton Willie, disagreed on whether we’re going to get more winter. Nova Scotia’s Sam says it’s over, and Ontario’s Willie insists otherwise. So if you live in Ontario, you’d better keep your willie warm – it’s gonna be nippy out there.
But we redneck westerners are instinctively suspicious of anything that comes out of Ontario. Them gummint folks ain’t to be trusted. In fact, if you scroll down to the ‘Death and further scandals’ section on Wiarton Willie’s Wiki (try saying that five times fast) you can see why we weally wonder about Willie.
So out here, we consulted our own oracle: Balzac Billy, AKA ‘The Prairie Prognosticator’.
Balzac is a small town just north of Calgary, and for those of you who are thinking, “Wait a minute; groundhogs don’t live around there”, well… you’re right. Balzac Billy is a guy in a groundhog suit.
Which raises a few unwholesome questions if you consider the rodents’ true motivation for leaving their burrows; but what the hell. The search for female company will bring most males out of their burrows. If a guy can attract the ladies despite being dressed as a giant rodent, more power to him.
But back to the weather forecast. Billy agreed with Sam: Winter is over here. And I think he may be right – winter never really got started this year (unless you count the snow we had last August, but we’re trying to forget that).
And anyhow, even if Billy and Sam are wrong, it could be worse. Winnipeg’s groundhog died last week, so it looks as though they’re stuck with winter forevermore. At least they’re used to it out there.
And groundhogs or not, we still have Environment Canada to give us all a healthy dose of delusional dreams:
What’s the weather like where you are?