Groundhogs send mixed messages

Shubenacadie Sam sees his shadow, Shubenacadie, NS, 02 Feb 2020 (Twitter)

The first marmot in North America to make a weather prediction on Groundhog Day was Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam who saw his shadow early today which means another six weeks of winter.

However, Ontario’s Wiarton Willie and Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see their respective shadows hence an early spring is expected.

So which groundhog do we believe?

The annual tradition originated in Germany and traces its roots to religion rather than science.

Environment Canada notes how data over the last 30 to 40 years shows that the groundhogs have only been correct about 37 percent of the time.

But admittedly, it’s a fun way to mark the midpoint of winter whether or not it wraps up early or drags on into spring.

Near record cold in N.B.

A break in clouds over the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border, 03 June 2017 (Dearing)

The last couple of days had near record lows in Greater Moncton with temperatures dropping to near the freezing point.

A low of 1.0 C at the airport on Monday was close to the 1947 record of 0.6 C while a low of 0.0 C on Tuesday tied the minimum from 1995.

Fortunately cloud cover prevented frost in most of New Brunswick but another risk is possible by early Wednesday.

Folklore suggests frost can be expected until the full moon in June which is this Friday the ninth.

March 2013 – In like a lion, out like a lion!

St. Antoine, north of Moncton, 31 March 2014 (Facebook)

St. Antoine, north of Moncton, 31 March 2014 (Facebook)

According to folklore, if March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb and vice versa – but that wasn’t the case for the month in Greater Moncton.

Temperatures were well below normal – the extreme March maximum failed to crack 10 C and the extreme minimum fell below -18 C six times during the first week of the month.

Snowfall was well above normal thanks to three major snow events while rainfall was slightly below normal.

MARCH 2014 ALMANAC (at the Greater Moncton International Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH -0.8 C

Average LOW -12.3 C

AVERAGE -6.5 C (about 3.6 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 6.8 C (15 Mar)

Extreme LOW -23.7 C (04 Mar)

Snowfall 122.6 cm (about 100 percent ABOVE normal)

Rainfall 42.2 mm (slightly BELOW normal)