You've got to hand it to the marketing folks in Pennsylvania. They've taken an ordinary woodchuck and made it into a media spectacle based solely on whether the animal's lard is able to block the sun or not. It's good work if you can get it.
The famous-for-being-famous groundhog did not see his shadow this year, so "spring is just around the corner." The trouble, of course, is that the groundhog's groupies are never very clear about where the forecast actually applies. The town of Punxsutawney only? All of Pennsylvania? United States? Northern Hemisphere? Like all good forecasts, the secret is to make it sound good without actually providing any specifics. That way nobody can find fault -- regardless of the outcome.
Or, as the Washington Post summarized today, "Groundhog Day could be viewed as a commentary on the nature of modern celebrity. A cute, hairy creature has become famous for doing something with minimal accuracy because he is surrounded by men in funny hats. Subtract two legs and a tail and that's the Justin Bieber narrative all over."
(Note to self: Next year, consider naming the winter storms after vapid celebrities.)
Our own forecast
Speaking of minimal accuracy, it's time to look ahead at the next chances of snow at Cape Girardeau. The computer models are depicting two more weathermakers, one coming on Friday and then the second sometime early next week. The Friday system looks like a weak storm that will pass to the south. Next week's storm looks like it will pass to the north. As usual, we probably won't get much.
Yesterday evening, the GFS computer model was suggesting that we could see about 6 inches from next week's storm. By this morning, that projection had dropped to 4 inches, and now it's about 3. At this rate, by the time the system arrives, I suspect that the actual accumulation will be right around 0.000001 inches, give or take a couple of flakes.
I survived Winter Storm "Hendrix" and all I got was this T-shirt
It's somewhat surprising that a catchy name for yesterday's big storm hasn't been coined. Most people are just calling it the "Blizzard of 2011". At the very least, I thought we would see something like the "Snowaclysm" or the "Blizzopocalypse."
Maybe next time.