Weather Models vs. The Groundhog

Weather Models vs. The Groundhog

Last week, the weather models used by meteorologists predicted that we would receive two potentially substantial snowstorms. Neither event amounted to more than a dusting of snow. Analyzing the statistical output of the weather models forms the core of most weather forecasters’ daily studies, and they usually can be relied upon. The models failed miserably last week. In the first case, the predicted development of the storm did not happen, and in the second case, we received about 1/4 inch of precipitation.

On Feb. 2, the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, did not see his shadow, thereby predicting that we would have an early spring. Supposedly, the groundhog awakes from its hibernation and ventures outside. If it sees its shadow, it gets scared, and runs back into its den to resume hibernating. If the groundhog does not see its shadow, it stays outside, knowing that spring will arrive shortly. Many Web sites list Phil’s accuracy as 40% or less.

It will be a bit warmer than yesterday the next few days, and the wind chill should not be nearly as low. The weather models predict that the temperature will stay in the 20s°F during daylight hours, dropping into the low double digits at night. They say that we can expect a sunny sky with a few clouds as a high-pressure region moves into the area. Phil, however, would have you believe that spring-like weather is just around the corner.

Extended Forecast

Tonight: Mostly clear. Low 11°F (-12°C)

Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. High 24°F (-4°C)

Tomorrow night: Mostly clear. Low 12°F (-11°C)

Thursday: Mostly sunny. High 28°F (-2°C)

Thursday night: Mostly clear. Low 17°F (-8°C)