Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day

The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun by Wendie Old, Albert Whitman 2004, ISBN 0-8075-3066-2

I usually don't review my own books for Nonfiction Monday, but today I couldn't resist pulling some nice nonfiction facts from it.

Legend has it that -- If the groundhog sees his shadow today, there will be 6 more weeks of winter. Amazingly enough, there is actually a scientific explanation of this. (you can find it yourself on page 25.)

A sunny day in February usually means that a cold front with High pressure has arrived. Cold and dry. brrrr. It certainly feels like winter is here to stay for at least 6 more weeks.

But a warm front, caused by a Low pressure system, brings more moisture in the air causing a cloudy, overcast day -- therefore no shadow. Plus, with the day being warmer, it feels like spring is coming.

The German people who settled in Pennsylvania had a tradition of watching for hibernating animals (bears/ hedgehogs) to come out to check the weather on February 2nd, the halfway point between the shortest day of the year in December (the beginning of winter) and the Equinox in March (the beginning of Spring). Since there were many groundhogs in the area they settled, they adopted it as the American animal to look for on February 2nd.

Did the groundhog in YOUR part of the country see his shadow today? Click here to check Punxsutawney Phil's prediction.
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