Here's how it works. If the groundhog sees his shadow when he gets up on February second it will scare him and he will go back into his hole and burrow himself in for six more weeks of sleep and six more weeks of winter is expected. But if the groundhog does not see his shadow he stays outside his home and winter is over. Spring has arrived. That's how it works.
Now, who are the prognosticators? Well there are many but only two that we follow in Texoma.
The most famous groundhog in the world is Punxsutawney Phil of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
In that little town of 5,962 people (and technically it's a borough) they throw an annual celebration for the groundhog. Kids are out of school and the celebrating includes fireworks and a festival atmosphere.
On that day each year the town folk gather at a location called "Gobbler's Knob." It's at this location that the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil lives in a treet stump. They pull him from his home, they hoist him in the air for all to see. Then the handlers go nose to nose with Punxsutawney and speak groundhogease with him to officially find out from him if he has seen his shadow or not.
For a complete record of Phil's predictions and a look at his accuracy record check out the link by clicking this sentence.
For the official Punxsutawney Phil Groundhog Day web page click this sentence.
At this time the forecast for the borough of Punxsutawney, PA is for a cloudy sky and snow showers at the time of the event. Now if that is true and comes to pass that would mean that Punxsutawney Phil would NOT see his shadow and he would stay out of his burrow for the rest of the season and winter would be over and spring begins.
Here in Texoma we go by "Wichita Willie" located at Kiwanis Park in Wichita Falls. And since we live on the Great Plains "Wichita Willie" is a prairie dog. Many cities and towns across the Great Plains use prairie dogs instead of groundhogs for their prognostications. For more information on prairie dogs click this sentence.
Our local forecast is quite similar to Punxsutawney. At this time the forecast for Sunday, February second calls for a cloudy sky with a chance of snow late on in the day. This would mean that Wichita Willie would NOT see his shadow and spring would arrive.
KFDX Meteorologist Bryan Rupp
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