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Prediction: Groundhog or Marmot?

February 1, 2013 Jackson Hole, State of Wyoming No Comments
marmot

While Punxsutawney Phil will again be the focus of attention tomorrow for Groundhog Day, Wyoming might look at his close relative – the Alpine Marmot – to help its residents predict the coming of spring.  Indeed, the Groundhog shares the scientific name,  Marmota monax.  You may picture Wyoming’s marmots in their familiar pose; stretched out and sleeping on some rock in the sunshine.  That may be because Wyoming’s marmot doesn’t face the stress of predicting the coming of spring here – that event is pretty consistent, and arrives certainly no fewer than six weeks after February second.  That remains a rule whether or not the marmot sees his shadow on February second.  Turning to the groundhog to predict the weather is the result of German Immigrants finding no hedgehogs in America, but still wanting to practice an ancient tradition from the old country.  Enter Punxsutawney Phil who has inspired a festivity each year in Pennsylvania.  But face it; a forecast of six more weeks of winter is a pretty safe prediction since the official first day of spring is March 20th — and perhaps add a few more weeks in Wyoming.  Just ask your local marmot.

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