Ways people ‘predict’ the weather besides Groundhog Day

Corryn Brock, Associate News Editor

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Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow on Saturday, which, according to legend, signifies an early spring.

Groundhog Day, celebrated annually on Feb. 2, was first celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, according to the History Channel.

The day originally began in 1887, when a newspaper editor who belonged to a groundhog-hunting group declared that a Punxsutawney groundhog named Phil was America’s only real weather-forecasting groundhog.

However, Phil is not the only animal people base weather predictions on.

1.) It is said that the way squirrels build their nests will tell how bad the coming winter will be, as well as the size of the squirrels. If a squirrel builds its nest higher up in a tree or is fatter, a harsh weather is expected, according to folklore.

2.) According to folklore, frogs will croak more before a rainstorm than they would otherwise. If this legend holds true in any way, science would suggest that the frogs are croaking more as mating calls because frogs prefer a moist atmosphere for mating.

3.) Snakes are said to slither away from Earthquakes moments before they begin because they can sense oncoming tremors. Snakes have an inner ear that is connected to their lower jaw that gives them the ability to listen to the Earth’s vibrations, and they can pick up on the smallest of tremors, according to National Geographic.

4.) It is said that when cows lay down in the pasture, they are preparing for rain; however, it often means that they are chewing their cud rather than settling down for raindrops.

5.) It is believed by some that wolves will howl at the moon more frequently when big storms are approaching; however, some believe they may howl more at the moon because of a pressure change, causing them ear discomfort.

6.) Low-flying birds are a sign of bad weather, and high-flying birds are a sign of fair weather, according to some folklore. Some scientists hypothesize birds may change the way they fly based on hearing low-frequency noise that can come from approaching storms.

7.) Sheep supposedly huddle together when a train or snow is approaching to stay warm.

It is unsure whether this folklore holds any validity because it has not yet been confirmed.

8.) Sneezing cats are said to be a sign of rain. In 1883, “Weather Proverbs,” a book by Henry Harrison Chase Dunwoody, Dunwoody suggests cats have a range of talents and abilities.

However, other reasons for the sneezing cats include allergies and dust.

9.) Sharks are thought to dive deeper in the water before hurricanes.

There are no definite findings on whether the sharks actually swim deeper before hurricanes or not; however, many animals are said to have reactions before massive weather events.

While folklore is fun to look at and read about for some people, a more reliable way of getting weather forecasts for upcoming days could be by listening to forecasters with local media rather than using apps and sources with forecasting not done locally.

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].