Ok, the statistics are in.
Despite the "Polar Vortex," winter storm watches, warnings, and school delays, statistically, according to our local meteorologist, January 2014 did NOT rank among the coldest of the past century. In fact, several Januarys in the past 30 years have been colder. But, statistics aside, I think most of us will agree: January 2014 really sucked!!
When the temperatures weren't hovering around zero degrees, it was snowing. When balmy temperatures hit the 20s, wind chills brought things back down to zero. An ice storm forced me to crawl across a road near my home. Now, I'm not talking about my pace, I mean I actually crawled!
I know, I know, "You live in Pennsylvania, what do you expect in January?"
Ah, I beg to differ. My running friend from Grenada, Mississippi, Felix Shipp, woke up to a to a temperature of 10 degrees this week. It was cold enough to freeze his grits! My daughter, now living in the tropical climate of Charleston, South Carolina, saw some good old Pennsylvania snow, and we all know what happened in Atlanta. But before we decry global warming, or fret over the coming of a second Ice Age, be comforted in the fact that, of the past 10 Januarys, 5 have been below normal in temperature, while 5 have been above normal. Despite that balance: this January really sucked!
But, help is on the way. In less than two days, a mere three hours west of me, in the tiny burg of Punxsutawney, the furry little rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, will grace us with his annual prediction. At dawn, 7:27 a.m., he will emerge from his temporary home on Gobbler's Knob (you can't make this stuff up), in a somewhat stupefied state, held by a top hatted, tuxedo-wearing gentlemen. If he sees his shadow, we are in for 6 more weeks of winter. If not, spring is, "Just around the corner."
So, here we are, smack in the middle of the Information Age, and we place our weather hopes in the claws of an oversized rat?
Wait a second.
We watch guys with slicked down hair, spouting pithy puns, as they opine about storms that never arrive, or those that were supposed to miss. They work in a profession that aims to be correct about 50% of the time. They show us their fancy maps with all the fancy colors, then they joke with the anchorman. Somehow they seem to think that if they are delivering their report outside that they'll actually get it right. At the 2012 Boston Marathon, the long range forecast, 10 days out, predicted highs in the 60s. The temperature at the starting line topped 80 degrees.
Bring on Punxsutawney Phil! Heck, his prediction can't be any worse than the 6 O'clock News weather "experts." He, too, has a 50% chance of being right.
Enjoy your Groundhog Day, which this year falls on Super Bowl Sunday. And if you're in my neck of the woods, stop by for some chips, salsa, and groundhog stew!