Groundhog: Six more weeks of winter!

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:55 PM GMT on February 02, 2009

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Punxsutawney Pennsylvania's famous prognosticating rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow this morning. According to tradition, this means that a solid six more weeks of winter can be expected across the U.S. From the official web site of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, groundhog.org:

Here Ye! Here Ye! Here Ye!

On Gobbler's Knob on this fabulous Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2009
Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of all Prognosticators,
Awoke to the call of President Bill Cooper
And greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths

After casting a joyful eye toward thousands of his faithful followers,
Phil proclaimed that his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers were World Champions one more time

And a bright sky above me
Showed my shadow beside me.

Six more weeks of winter it will be.


How did this this crazy tradition start?
It all started in Europe, centuries ago, when February 2 was a holiday called Candlemas. On Candlemas, people prayed for mild weather for the remainder of winter. The superstition arose that if a hibernating badger woke up and saw its shadow on Candlemas, there would be six more weeks of severe winter weather. When Europeans settled the New World, they didn't find any badgers. So, instead of building wooden badgers, they decided to use native groundhogs (aka the woodchuck, land beaver, or whistlepig) as their prognosticating rodent.

What the models say
The latest 16-day run of the GFS model shows the jet stream retreating to a position in southern Canada in about a week, which will usher in milder temperatures over the eastern half of the U.S. compared to average. However, the model predicts that a series of cold air outbreaks typical for February will occasionally dip down over northern regions of the U.S. over the coming two weeks, bringing colder than average temperatures to the Pacific Northwest, and near average temperatures to the Midwest and Northeast. The latest 1-month and 3-month outlooks from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center show a continuation of this pattern for the remainder of winter and into Spring, with a heightened chance of above-average temperatures in the Southern U.S. Cooler than average temperatures in the Northern Plains are typical when weak La Niña conditions are present in the Eastern Pacific (Figure 1), as is currently the case.


Figure 1. Departure of winter temperature from average for winters when a weak La Niña event was present. Temperatures in the Northern Plains have typically been 1-2°F below average for the eight winters in the past 50 years that have had weak La Niña events. Image credit: Jan Null, Golden Gate Weather, and NOAA/ESRL.

Kentucky's ice storm
Six more weeks of winter is not what ice storm-battered Kentucky needs, as the state continues to recover from its most widespread power outage in history. High temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday will be below freezing over the most of the state, but should warm into the 50s by the end of the week. More than half of the 600,000 customers affected by the outage have now had their power restored. The previous largest power outage in state history occurred just five months ago, when the remnants of Hurricane Ike brought wind gusts near hurricane force to Kentucky.

The Groundhog Oscillation: convincing evidence of climate change
According to a 2001 article published in the prestigious Annals of Improbable Research titled, "The Groundhog Oscillation: Evidence of Global Change", Punxsutawney Phil's forecasts have shown a high variability since 1980. This pattern, part of the larger "Groundhog Oscillation" or GO cycle, is convincing evidence of human-caused climate change.

More on climate change in my next post on Tuesday or Wednesday, when I'll look at claims that the Earth has been cooling since 1998.

Jeff Masters

Uphill (phoebe)
This short Ozarks up hill road was covered with downed trees yesterday before neighbors worked all day to clear it. Needless to say, we've got great neighbors.
Uphill
Power out (HIE1224)
Power out
Promise of Spring (MParks)
Winter of 2009 ice storm in Ky.
Promise of Spring

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61. HadesGodWyvern
Having to stretch my geographical knowledge (sad to say, but I admit it) - These are the islands east of Madagascar? Wondering if this will put Madagascar in hazards way.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Proof that the models were wrong on there position of the low.. Also the radar is a bit north and looks more aggressive then what the models showed. Not calling off the out to sea solution, but if the low formed NNW of the forecasted positions, it's possible that the actual low might track a tad west then what is forecasted now. One more thing to add is that the warm front was supposed to be under us here in Palm Coast, but temps are at 68 degrees instead of the forecasted temperature of 64 which proves that the storm is north and the warm front is north as well. I also see a nice rain band with embedded strong storms heading eastward.

Photobucket
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Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number THREE
PERTURBATION TROPICALE 08-20082009
16:00 PM Réunion February 2 2009
==================================

At 12:00 PM UTC, Tropical Disturbance 08R (1003 hPa) located at 16.1S 67.2E has 10 minute sustained winds of 20 knots with gusts of 30 knots. The disturbance is reported as moving west-southwest at 10 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
12 HRS: 16.8S 65.6E - 25 knots (Perturbation Tropicale)
24 HRS: 17.7S 64.0E - 30 knots (Depression Tropicale)
48 HRS: 18.5S 60.6E - 40 knots (Tempête Tropicale Moderée)
72 HRS: 18.7S 56.4E - 60 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)

Additional Information
========================
System is sheared with an ill-defined low level circulation center east of the main convection (CF TRMM at 9:53z). Environmental condition were stationary during the last hours with a weak to moderate vertical wind shear and the low level only fed by the monsoon flow.

During the next 24-36 hours, the system will move towards west-southwest in relation with a weakness of the upper level ridge. It should move west beyond with the increasing of high pressure in the south. The low level inflow is better poleward after tomorrow evening thanks to the increasing gradient with the subtroical high pressure. In the upper levels, wind shear will decrease but only one outflow will settle in the next 36 to 48 hours.

Intensification rate is slow for the next 48 hours and then a climatological rate.

INTEREST IN THE MASCAREGNAS ISLANDS SHOULD CLOSELY MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45648
flood watch maybe needed in the SWFL area......
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
NWS RUSKIN:

... A slight risk for severe weather across west central and southwest
Florida this afternoon and early tonight...

A developing low pressure area over the eastern Gulf of Mexico late
this morning will move east across the south central Florida Peninsula
later this afternoon and early tonight. Ahead of this low a large area
of rain with embedded thunderstorms will affect the region. At the present
time indications are that scattered thunderstorms now ongoing over the
adjacent Gulf waters may intensify some as they move east and spread
across the region during the late afternoon and evening hours. Increasing
wind shear in the lower and mid level of the atmosphere may support
the development of a few strong to severe storms with the risk of damaging
winds and or isolated tornadoes.

Residents and visitors of west central and southwest Florida should
remain alert for rapidly changing weather conditions through the afternoon
and early evening hours. If threatening weather approaches your location
move indoors immediately.

Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio or your local media for further
updates and or warnings.
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my area is sure in for some strong weather this afternoon,I can here thunder and its been windy all morning w/wind out of the SSW at 20mph..
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
possible severe storms forming 10-15 miles offshore SRQ,FL...a marine warning may be needed w/winds over 40mph......should arrive along coastal locations in SRQ/BRD between 12:15pm EST and 12:45pm EST,with gusty winds,lightning and torrental rains....a flood watch could be possible in the tampa bay area with a isolated amount of 3-4 inches of rain in the next 6-8 hrs.......
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
keep in mind ike,that 50-100 miles makes all the difference between a dusting and a ft+,with these coastal snowstorms!!!!,I grew up in SECT and have had more than a few suprise snowstorms!!!!!
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
51. IKE
Update from Taunton, Massachusetts....

"OUR INITIAL ESTIMATE ON SNOW ACCUMULATION IS AN INCH OR LESS
TONIGHT...MAINLY INTERIOR. THEN 1-4" FOR MUCH OF SNE ON TUE.
ADVISORIES MAY EVENTUALLY BE NEEDED. BUT THERE IS STILL SOME DEGREE
OF UNCERTAINTY DUE TO MODEL QPF SPREAD. IT COULD END UP LESS.


NORTHERLY WINDS WILL BE INCREASING DURING TUE ALONG THE COAST AS LOW
DEEPENS. GUSTS TO 30-35 MPH EXPECTED WITH UP TO 40 MPH
CAPE/ISLANDS."
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IKE: that does not address the NYC area and area's like eastern LI and the cape....mt. holly is not a coastal location!!!!...the further east,the better the chance of heavy snow.....IMO
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
Hundreds line up for Ike housing assistance
Many still in need 4 months after devastating hurricane

By JENNIFER LEAHY
Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle Link
Jan. 31, 2009, 8:53PM
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
47. IKE
Update discussion from Mount Holly,NJ...

"THE WEAK COLD FRONT IS SLOWLY MAKING IT`S WAY TO THE EAST AND
WILL BE EXTENDING FROM THE GULF OF MAINE, SOUTHWEST INTO NORTHERN
MARYLAND AND DOWN THE WEST SIDE OF THE APPALACHIANS TO A DEVELOPING
LOW OVER THE NORTHERN GULF COAST STATES. A WEAK DISTURBANCE IS
ALSO DEVELOPING OVER THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE WHICH WILL BECOME THE
LOW DESTINED FOR THE ATLANTIC WATERS. TEMPERATURES BEHIND THE
FRONT WILL BE FALLING TONIGHT INTO TUESDAY. NOT MUCH IN THE WAY OF
PRECIPITATION TODAY BUT THAT TOO WILL ARRIVE THIS EVENING AND INTO
THE OVERNIGHT HOURS. TEMPERATURES AHEAD OF THE FRONT TODAY WILL BE
ON THE MILD SIDE AGAIN WITH HIGHS FROM THE MID 30S TO MID 50S.
LOWS TONIGHT FROM THE LOWER 20S TO MID 30S.

STILL NOT A CLEAR CUT SITUATION AHEAD, ALTHOUGH THE THREAT FOR A
HEAVY SNOW IS GONE WITH THE LOW PRESSURES REMAINING OVER THE ATLANTIC,

BUT WE ARE STILL IN FOR SOME SNOW. WHAT WE`RE LEFT WITH IS ACCUMULATIONS
ON THE ORDER OF 1 TO 3 INCHES, BUT THE BIGGER STORY WILL BE THE WIND
AND COLD FOLLOWING ON WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY.

FOR TODAY, THE WINDS SWING AROUND TO THE NORTHWEST BUT SPEEDS
LESS THAN 10 KNOTS. WINDS VEER TO THE NORTHEAST OVERNIGHT WITH
FALLING TEMPERATURES. MIDDLE AND SOUTHERN AREAS WILL HAVE A
SOUTHWEST WIND UNTIL THE AFTERNOON THEN BECOME NORTH AND NORTHEAST
WITH SPEEDS UNDER 10 MPH. WE COULD SEE UP TO AN INCH OF SNOW WITH
THE FRONT OVERNIGHT WITH THE AXIS WEST AND NORTHWEST OF THE
DELAWARE VALLEY WITH UP TO 2 INCHES IN THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF
THE POCONOS AND NORTHWEST NEW JERSEY BY DAYBREAK. THERE IS A SHARP
THERMAL BOUNDARY BEHIND THE FRONT IN THE LOWER LEVELS SO IT WILL
CERTAINLY BE COLD ENOUGH FOR THE SNOW.
-- End Changed Discussion --"


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41. Tazmanian

My brother in law and his family live in Karuizawa and described the event as a "burp". They were all in surgical masks but the ash was pretty light.
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Here in Appleton, Wisconsin we were thrilled when the groundhog saw his shadow. ONLY six more weeks of winter!
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Volcano erupts near Tokyo raining ash down on city
Reuters – Japan's Mount Asama erupts

… TOKYO – A volcano near Tokyo erupted Monday, shooting up billowing smoke and showering parts of the capital with a fine ash that sent some city residents to the car wash and left others puzzled over the white powder they initially mistook for snow.

Mount Asama erupted in the early hours of Monday, belching out a plume that rose about a mile (1.6 kilometers) high, Japan's Meteorological Agency said.

There were no reports of injuries or damage from the eruption of the volcano, 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Tokyo. It last erupted in August, 2008, causing no major damage.

Chunks of rock from the explosion were found about 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) away from the volcano. Ash was detected over a wide area, including central Tokyo and as far as eastern Chiba.

In Tokyo's western district of Fussa, the local government office was flooded with calls from residents asking about "the mysterious white powder" falling from the sky and fire departments fielded calls from people afraid the ash was from a nearby blaze.

In the town of Karuizawa, southeast of the volcano, the ash was thick enough to obscure road markings in some areas, town official Noboru Yanagishi said.

"Some people said they heard a strange noise in the morning when the eruption occurred," he said.

The eruption was not big enough to disrupt daily life near the volcano, though many people awoke to find their cars covered in a fine layer of powder. National broadcaster NHK showed people in Tokyo lining up to get their cars washed or wiping the ash from their windows, with some drivers saying they first thought it was snow.

In Tachikawa, a district in northwestern Tokyo, some farming areas were coated with ash.

"Because it's February and not harvesting season, there was no real damage to any crops," said Shoichi Matsumoto, a local official.

In Tsumagoi, a small town on the volcano with ski resorts and hot spring baths, residents went about their business as usual. Travelers planning vacations to the area had called to inquire, but no one canceled, said Masaru Yoshida, a spokesman for the local tourist association.

"The wind has blown the ash to the other side of the mountain," he said. "It's a clear day so you can see some smoke, but not as much as we've had in the past."

Mount Asama has been active for thousands of years.

Its last major eruption took place in September 2004, spewing enough ash to damage local crops. It frequently spews smaller amounts of ash from its crater.

With 108 active volcanos, Japan is among the most seismically busy countries in the world. The country lies in the "Ring of Fire" — a series of volcanoes and fault lines that outline the Pacific Ocean.

Later Monday, the agency also reported a minor eruption at another volcano — Sakurajima in southern Japan.

An alert level of three was in place Monday for a 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) radius, which bars entry into the area and urges nearby residents to take caution.

"We don't think there will be any stronger eruptions, but we don't see the activity stopping anytime soon, either," agency official Kazuya Kokubo said
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40. IKE
Looks like the cold-front is racing east, now approaching Mobile,AL. Looks like the precip is already diminishing slightly in coverage...wow...I may get a quarter of an inch of rain.

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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
Who Should Attend the
National Hurricane Conference? Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
Quoting vortfix:
Look, if this NOAA study is correct it should have permanently ended all discussion about you know what!


New Study Shows Climate Change Largely Irreversible
January 26, 2009

A new scientific study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reaches a powerful conclusion about the climate change caused by future increases of carbon dioxide: to a large extent, there's no going back.

The pioneering study, led by NOAA senior scientist Susan Solomon, shows how changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level are largely irreversible for more than 1,000 years after carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are completely stopped. The findings appear during the week of January 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Link


We have not figured out what will happen this week - N'easter or no n'easter? So, I find it difficult to believe we have a clue as to what will happen 1000 years from now.

Having said that, Susan Solomon is an amazing woman. Pioneered work in identifying the mechanism that produces the Antarctic ozone hole and contributions towards the protection of the ozone layer. She is not just a desk scientist, and did her own field work.

I was hoping that the 1000 year remark is out of context or mis-interpreted. Sadly it was not. (Thanks for the link, vortix)


Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
35. IKE
Debating "IT" is about as exciting as watching a soccer match.
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2009 National Hurricane Conference Link

April 6-April 10 |Austin Convention Center|Austin, TX

The nation's forum for education and professional training in hurricane preparedness!

Purpose of the Conference

The primary goal of the National Hurricane Conference is to improve hurricane preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation in order to save lives and property in the United States and the tropical islands of the Caribbean and Pacific. In addition, the conference serves as a national forum for federal, state and local officials to exchange ideas and recommend new policies to improve Emergency Management.

To accomplish these goals, the annual conference emphasizes:



* Lessons Learned from Hurricane Strikes.

* State of the art programs worthy of emulation.

* New ideas being tested or considered.

* Information about new or ongoing assistance programs.

* The ABC's of hurricane preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation -- in recognition of the fact that there is a continual turnover of emergency management leadership and staff.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
33. IKE
Quoting NEwxguy:


Anyway of speeding up that clock?I've been doing so well keeping quiet on the whole subject,but he got me.


LOL....
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Quoting P451:


I still say this whole forecast is a crap shoot at best and the door should still be left open for NJ-NY-CT to have anywhere from a dusting to as much as a foot for we just don't yet know the development nor the movement/track of this system(s). Which is quite odd now that we're 12 hours or less away from the onset of precipitation for the region.


Meanwhile, our sea ice has done well this winter, in fact it's right in line with the median. A little short near the Scandinavian countries and also short off of east Russia yet actually a little extra off Alaska.

Arctic Sea Ice Image Jan31



It'll sure be interesting to watch,I have a good chance of some strong storms building in the GOM moving ashore today,associated w/the low pressure system that will be one of the ingredents....one thing thats missing is a deep layer of cold air locked in over the eastern seaboard,I talked to my friend in the NYC yesterday and he said it was actually pretty mild temp wise....he wont' be saying on that thurs/friday!!!!
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
Quoting IKE:


And then another blog on it on Tuesday or Wednesday...

"More on climate change in my next post on Tuesday or Wednesday, when I'll look at claims that the Earth has been cooling since 1998.

Jeff Masters"........

I'm sure your next blog entry will warm up the planet with the arguing that goes on in here over it.

Hurricane season can't start soon enough.....

118+ days and it's here....


Anyway of speeding up that clock?I've been doing so well keeping quiet on the whole subject,but he got me.
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30. IKE
I don't see anywhere near a foot of snow for sections of the NE USA based on the 12Z GFS....Link

Good news...this will be over with in a couple of days...no matter what happens.
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National Teach In On Global Warming, February 5th. Many Washington State Schools participating Link

February 5th, 2009, the National Teach-In on Global Warming will engage over a million Americans in solutions-driven dialogue. Educators, students and citizens, plan a focused conversation about "the critical decisions that will determine if our descendants will inherit a prosperous or an impoverished planet.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
Quoting Patrap:
Groundhog (Woodchuck) Pie Recipe..Link

I'll pass on that.
I could make a comment about not thinking meat should be included in pie - and the exception to that but I will just stop here...
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Groundhog (Woodchuck) Pie Recipe..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
25. IKE
I believe that study. Kind of like a person with glaucoma..whatever damage has been done is irreversible.
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NEW OUTLOOK POSTED:
South Florida StormWatch
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I never wanted to be a Climatologist,..I wanted to be a Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
Quoting Orcasystems:


Stir stick?

Not yet ... Reflex
Coffee first, straight up - nothing to dilute the caffiene
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Quoting KEHCharleston:

Yes


Stir stick?
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Quoting NEwxguy:
He's joking right?He likes to light the match to see if it catches fire.

Punxsutawney Phil's forecasts have shown a high variability since 1980. This pattern, part of the larger "Groundhog Oscillation" or GO cycle, is convincing evidence of human-caused climate change.



Yes
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
18. IKE
Quoting NEwxguy:
He's joking right?He likes to light the match to see if it catches fire.

Punxsutawney Phil's forecasts have shown a high variability since 1980. This pattern, part of the larger "Groundhog Oscillation" or GO cycle, is convincing evidence of human-caused climate change.




And then another blog on it on Tuesday or Wednesday...

"More on climate change in my next post on Tuesday or Wednesday, when I'll look at claims that the Earth has been cooling since 1998.

Jeff Masters"........

I'm sure your next blog entry will warm up the planet with the arguing that goes on in here over it.

Hurricane season can't start soon enough.....

118+ days and it's here....
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I would say 6-8 inches in NYC with higher amounts further east from the end of long island and the cape 10-14 inches.....its all about if the GOM lows energy gets absorbed by the coastal NC low and how far north it moves depends on how strong the coastal low gets...IMO
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
Good Morning all :)
Complete Blog Refresh
Mirror Site
New Section includes Mt Redoubt
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morning TS,hell of a game last night,huh???...who'd-a-though that game would be that close???,they didn't cover the 7 pt spread,so I'm sure ALOT of people lost money last night,not me I predicted a final score of
pitt:27
ariz:10


I got one score right,though I bet zero dollars on the game!!!!!

West coast of FL,WATCH OUT!!!!!..there is a line of strong storms forming about 150 miles west in the gulf,as these storms intensify and move east expect widespread winds of 40-50mph as the line moves across the coastal areas between 4 and 6 pm......a shortlived isolated tornado or waterspout is possible thru 6pm......
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
Its very active now.....

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.