Groundhog Day: An Observer’s Guide

FILE - This Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 file photo shows Groundhog Club Co-handler Ron Ploucha holding the weather predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, after the club said Phil did not see his shadow and there will be an early spring during the Groundhog Day ceremony in Punxsutawney, Pa. Authorities in still-frigid Ohio have issued an "indictment" of the furry rodent, who predicted an early spring. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

[This article was originally published February 2012 on]

Groundhogs are most commonly used to forecast the end of winter, but the curious behavior of these chubby little marmots can be used to predict all manner of meteorological, astrological, and societal events. Here’s a handy guide to help you prepare for some of February 2nd’s most significant potential outcomes.



If the groundhog sees his shadow and returns to his burrow:
Winter weather will linger for another six weeks.


If the groundhog does not see his shadow and remains outside:
An early spring will soon arrive.


If the groundhog does not see his shadow but pretends that he does:
Winter weather will linger, but it will seem almost exactly like spring. Despite your misgivings, meteorologists will assure you that it is definitely, most assuredly winter.


If the groundhog sees his shadow but shrugs it off and enjoys a cigarette:
The month of March is absolutely going to kick your ass.


If the groundhog refuses to leave his burrow:
The weather will remain 65 degrees and overcast until the groundhog’s eventual appearance. Leave an offering of day-to-day calendars outside and hope for the best.


If the groundhog leaves his burrow but quickly returns after realizing he has forgotten his wallet:
Winter will double-back into the previous fall, then return to winter, then possibly experiment with summer before finally settling at spring.


If the groundhog flees from his burrow altogether:
Jump straight to mid-July. Await further instructions.


If the groundhog gathers nearby lumber and uses its broad tail to build a lodge in a nearby river:
The groundhog may be incorrectly operating under beaver protocols. Recalibrate your groundhog and try again.


If the groundhog awkwardly asks you to read his screenplay:
The blu-ray disc format will soon be abandoned. Sell your movie library immediately. Begin buying novelized adaptations of your favorite films.


If the groundhog sees the futility of his actions and enters an existential crisis:
We don’t even know, man. What are we even doing here? What are any of us doing here? Whatever. It’ll rain a lot, probably. Is that what you wanted? Are you happy now?


If the groundhog publicly endorses Ron Paul for President:
The groundhog has gone rogue. Lock down the city and deploy the Anti-Groundhog Tactical Response Team. Leave no evidence.


If the groundhog does not have a shadow at all:
Abandon traditional calendars. Invest in gold. Seek refuge in your bunker and await the coming cataclysm. If you do not have a prepared bunker, deliver a sincere apology to the groundhog and make your peace with God. All is lost. All is lost.


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