Bill Murray, The Groundhog, Makes Winter Weather Prediction

Bill Murray has made the winter weather prediction — the groundhog Bill Murray that is.

The Michigan groundhog, appropriately named after Murray who is known for starring in the film Groundhog Day, where he played a weatherman living the same day over and over again, predicted that we would be having six more weeks of winter weather.

According to The Detroit News, the eight-month-old female groundhog made the prediction on Monday, February 2, at the Howell Conference and Nature Center, located at 1005 Triangle Lake Road in Marion Township. With over a foot of snow on the ground, the Livingston County celebration began at 7:45 a.m., and Murray reluctantly stepped outside of her home at a little past 8 a.m. to make her forecast.

Murray was standing in for Michigan’s official groundhog, Woody the Woodchuck, who was recovering from a respiratory infection, according to the Livingston Daily News. Woody had been making the predictions each year since 1999. This marked Murray’s first forecast.

“She’s [Woody] been suffering from some respiratory issues,” April Gasbarre, the nature center spokeswoman, said of the ill groundhog, who has been correct in her predictions 12 out of 16 times.

“While we expect her to make a full recovery, we didn’t want to risk it this year,” she added.

The tradition of Groundhog Day dates back to the early 1700s when German settlers looked to animals to help determine the upcoming weather conditions. The belief was that if it was sunny on that day, the groundhog would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of winter. If it was cloudy, the animal would not see its shadow and therefore predicted an early spring.

The roots of the holiday are in the German’s Candlemas Day, which came at the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, according to the Stormfax Weather Almanac.

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Located at the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center at Franklin and Marshall College, is the earliest known reference to Groundhog Day. It comes from an excerpt from storekeeper James Morris’ diary.

“Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.”

Do you think Bill Murray’s prediction is accurate, or will an early spring prove her wrong? Leave your comments below.

[Image via Perezhilton.com via Creativecommons.org]