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Weather Prognosticator

Happy Groundhog Day

By James Donahue

Among the many interesting customs brought to America by European immigrants is Groundhog Day. It is a celebration of mid-winter, mostly designed to help break the monotony of the long winter season, by concentrating on the actions of the lowly groundhog.

As the story is told, if the groundhog wakes from his winter sleep on February 2 and peeks out of his burrow, what he sees will affect how much more winter lies ahead. If he faces sunshine and sees is shadow, it frightens him back into his hole for another round of hibernation. This means six more weeks of winter ahead.

If the groundhog emerges on a cloudy day, he might choose to stay awake, and this is an indication of an early spring. Or so the legend is told.

There are various Groundhog Day celebrations, but the best known and best publicized is the one held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. That is probably because it was portrayed in the 1993 film Groundhog Day.

Actually, Pennsylvania is probably the place where the custom had its roots. The Germans who settled there in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries brought with them memories of a Pagan festival of Imbolc, a seasonal mark on the Celtic calendar, once celebrated on February 1. In Germany it was a badger that was the weather prognosticator.

The Groundhog Day celebration is somewhat linked to normal seasonal weather patterns, that were true back when the weather was somewhat constant and dependable. Unfortunately, because of changing atmospheric conditions brought on by carbon emissions, world weather patterns are changing dramatically.

No matter what Punxsutawney Phil does today in Pennsylvania, it probably won’t be an accurate prediction of what we can expect in the weeks and months ahead.

For example, The Abba Father, a Sixth Plane entity that communicates through my wife, Doris, and often makes very accurate predictions of future events, says cold and snow will hang on along the Eastern Seaboard until June this year. After this, he warns that intense heat will slam the country until autumn.

Sorry to put a damper on today’s celebration. We suggest that folks enjoy the festivities, but then pledge to do something constructive this year about the growing problem of climate change.