Features

Fluttering forecaster?

a new weather prognosticator perhaps?

by Debbi Collar




At least the groundhog who is circulating on Facebook,
holding a sign that says, "I lied!" admits to having made
some mistakes over the years. That image (creative
photographer unknown) has been shared so many times
on the social network that this writer got to thinking
about prognosticator "Punxsutawney Phil's track record
in accurately predicting an early spring or six more
weeks of winter throughout the years.

Folklore claims if "Phil"sees his shadow, it's back into
his den and six more weeks of winter can be expected.  
This year's prediction- an early spring. See the photo
above, there is always a possibility of error in many a
forecast.

Current readings from "official" weather agencies and
websites indicate that the number of correct
"Punxsutawney Phil" forecasts is a mere thirty-nine
percent since 1887. That number confirmed by
meteorologists at New Hampshire's Mt. Washington
Observatory as well as Stormfax.com

This year, "Punxsutawney Phil,"considered to be the
most famous marmot, has now been blamed for the
snowflakes that fell shortly after his 2016 prediction of
"an early Spring," as well as the February frost in which
mercury on thermometers dropped to record low
numbers, sometimes sliding to sub zero temperatures.  

Although Philadelphia's groundhog holds the title of
"Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages,
Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet
Extraordinary," a name he procured from a newspaper
editor named "Clymer Freas," it may be time that
another within the animal kingdom is named as his
replacement.

Humans and a variety of four footed or winged
meteorologists share this task of helping the rest of
us plan our daily activities around the whims of
weather as to if and when we should be packing away
the winter clothing, the shovels and the ski's in
exchange for shorts,T shirts, and garden tools.  

Which of the following do you put your trust in-
the meteorologists seen on TV or the "animals" that
burrow or forage in forests? Or does your trust stay
with aviation experts? What happens when Mother
Nature throws their forecasting theories a curve?

Here's a short sampling of Farmer's Almanac
meteorology as observed within a portion of the
animal and insect kingdom to assist Melrose Mirror
readers in their decision making  process as to
whether or not another mammal, insect, amphibian  or
bird should take over forecasting duties for the
famous groundhog beginning in 2017.

The following list is a compilation from various
weather folklore sources and websites, such as
Farmer's Almanac and Wikipedia)


1.  "Bees will not swarm before a storm."

2.  "Birds on a telephone wire will predict the coming
of rain."

3.  "If birds fly low, then rain we shall know."

4.  "Pigs gather leaves and straw before a storm."

5.  "When a rooster crows at night there will be rain by
morning."

6.  "A wasp's nest built low to the ground,expect little
snow,built high, expect a lot of snow.  

7.  "If the cat washes his/her face over her ear, there
weather is sure to be fine and clear."

8.  "When cats sneeze, it is a sign of rain."

9.  "If cows lie down and refuse to go to pasture,
expect a storm to blow up soon."

10. "The darker the wooly caterpillar's coat, more
severe the weather will be.  If there is a dark stripe at
the
head and one at the end, the winter will be severe at
the
beginning, become mild and then get worse before
Spring."

11.  "Bats flying high in the evening, is an indication of
fair weather."

12.  "Wolves always howl before a storm"

13.  "When sheep gather in a huddle, tomorrow will be
a
puddle."

14.  "Frogs croak louder than usual, bad weather on
the horizon."

In all fairness to Punxatawney Phil's relatives, there
were a few this year who challenged the well known
Candlemas critter's prediction of an early spring.

They were Buckeye Chuck of Marion, Ohio,
Chesapeake Chuck of Newport News, Virginia, Dunkirk
Dave of Dunkirk, New York and Pierre Shadeaux of
New Iberia Louisiana.  Each of these woodchucks  saw
his shadow and burrowed back into their homes for
six more weeks of winter.

Considering the low percentage of groundhog weather
forecasts, how many of  our readers might consider a
vote to turn over the February 2nd weather forecasting
duties over to a new species?  Instead of Groudhog
Day, how about  Robin Day?


Robin forecasting an early Spring?  This robin was
sighted on February 4th of this year.


After all, there is another theory that suggests the
sighting of a robin, seen alone, is one of the
first signs of Spring.



March 4, 2016


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