Were the Weather-predicting Rodents Correct in 2024?

April 3, 2024

On February 2nd, numerous rodents arose from their slumber to offer a weather prediction for either an early spring or six more weeks of winter. In one of our previous blogs, we shared the predictions of four groundhogs. Were their predictions correct? Let’s take a look.

According to NCEI, the contiguous United States experienced its third warmest February ever on record. Generally, temperatures were above average for most of the contiguous U.S., with record warm temperatures observed in much of the Mississippi Valley and in parts of the Great Lakes and southern Plains.

The eastern half of the U.S. experienced below average precipitation for February, while the western half of the U.S. experienced above average precipitation. However, the persistent warmth led to North American snow cover extent to be much below average, ranking the third lowest on record. The warmth also caused the Great Lakes to experience their lowest ice coverage on record during mid-February.

According to data from the National Phenology Network, many places across the U.S. experienced earlier leaves and blooms than normal this year, with some locations seeing them up to 3 weeks early.

The groundhog predictions in question reside in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and New York. Taking those locations into consideration, they all saw warmer than average temperatures, less precipitation and snowfall than average, and early leaves/blooms. All of this data points to an early spring! So who was correct this year?

Punxsutawney Phil, Buckeye Chuck, and Staten Island Chuck all predicted an early spring, so they were correct! Staten Island Chuck has now been correct FIFTEEN YEARS straight! Woody the Woodchuck predicted six more weeks of winter, which did not seem to pan out.

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