Thursday, February 02, 2012

Groundhog Day 2012

Nearly 18,000 people are waiting this morning for Phil's prediction in Pennsylvania. Photo

From Phil at 7:25am - shadow seen, six more weeks of winter.

We have made it to Groundhog Day 2012. I love the day, if nothing else it brings everyone into my weather circle for just a few moments. In reality the day goes back to the Festival of Candlemas which simply stated says, if it is sunny on February 2 six more weeks of winter, cloudy, an early spring. Either way as Canadians we win, 6 weeks would be an early spring. Now I know most of us in North America have had very little winter this year. However, as I walked my dog this morning around our ice encrusted neighborhood, I realized our winter has been pretty miserable. We have had bouts of very cold weather, punctuated with freezing rain every week and my yard has been snow covered since Christmas. So not a traditional winter, but winter just the same.

As we wait for predictions from Wiarton, Ontario and Punxsawtawney, Pennsylvania, I like the quote on Phil's accuracy via Inner Circle VP Mike Johnston, "He is not burdened with the necessity to be site specific". I guess we are, and yesterday was one of those days where location was everything. The best we could do in the temperature department in Montreal was -3C. This meant all our precipitation, about 6mm of it, fell as freezing rain. We had lots of ice and accidents to go along with it. In all we ended up with about 10cm of snow and 6mm of rain, but no mild air at all. One of the most difficult forecast situations here in the St. Lawrence Valley is predicting when a warm front will scour out the cold air at the surface. Some days it happens quickly, and others like yesterday, it does not happen at all. You had to head into Vermont and New York for that where Burlington reached 8C (47F). The cold air was just too dense to budge off the valley floor.

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