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Should we have “Gopher Day” in Minnesota?

February 1, 2012

   Every February 2nd, a groundhog named Phil in Pennsylvania gets a lot of press coverage.  According to folklore, if Phil sees his shadow on the morning of February 2nd, there will be six more weeks of winter.  If he doesn’t see his shadow, there will be an early spring.  Out East, people are probably disappointed when the verdict is six more weeks of winter. Here in Minnesota, winter almost never ends in February, so six more weeks of winter is our version of an “early spring”.

    Of course, the amount of sunshine on any given morning isn’t an accurate predictor of the arrival of spring.  But, if we’re going to have a “groundhog day” ritual, we can create one that fits our climate. In Minnesota, it should be later in the month, maybe around February 28th.  And we’d prefer to watch a gopher, not a groundhog. Our “folklore” might go something like this: If the gopher sees its shadow on “Gopher Day”, winter will last into the middle of April. If the gopher doesn’t see its shadow, winter will end by the third week of March.  We’d still have to come up with a good name for our gopher…any suggestions?

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