Today is Groundhog Day, where men in stove-pipe hats gather 'round and haul an unsuspecting varmint out of its hole as a way of predicting the weather. Now, don’t get us wrong: Duke Cannon is all for tradition. However, grabbing a grouchy marmot and thrusting it in front of a phalanx of flashbulbs seems like a great way to get bit, but a poor way to gauge weather patterns. Here are the methods we prefer to stick with for meteorological guidance.
OUR LOCAL WEATHERMAN
Bart McCombs at CBS affiliate WKQR has kept us reliably up to date on all things atmospheric and barometric for years now. Sure, he has occasionally gotten some things wrong in his forecasts, but let he who is without sin cast the first golf ball-sized hunk of hail, we say. Bart is a straight-shooter, and when he looks you in the eye and says that it will be an early spring, you can take it to the bank. Plus, he has a funny puppet he uses to explain weather to the kids, and we like that a lot.
Duke Cannon is certainly not a "tech bro," but nor are we a luddite; we recognize full well that technology has brought mankind many wonderful advancements that have made modern life less taxing. The Doppler weather radar is right up there. Named after Austrian physicist Christian Doppler, it uses directional pulses of microwave radiation sent at lightspeed that bounce off small particles (such as raindrops or snowflakes for instance). Then a bunch of math and engineering things happen, and we use that information to remain reliably safe and dry. Cheers to science.
There’s a reason this tome—which should accompany a man at all times, ideally in his glove box or coat pocket—is the best-selling annual periodical in North America. It contains a wealth of practical, invaluable information on important topics such as time and tides, planting calendars, reference tables, and, for those eager to avoid potential werewolf complications, moon phases. But foremost among its virtues are the rock-solid weather predictions, which extend for a whopping 16 months, beating the heck out of any woodchuck we’ve ever met.
*There are actually two versions: The Farmer's Almanac and The Old Farmer's Almanac. Take your pick; we have no dog in this particular fight.
LICKING OUR INDEX FINGER AND HOLDING IT ALOFT
What’s the long-range forecast? Well, allow us but a few seconds here friend, and we will tell you. (Brief pause) Currently the wind is out of the southeast, about 5-6 mph. Conditions are mild, and overall today promises to be quite pleasant for this time of year, with a high of about 54° peaking at 3:13PM CT. We expect these conditions to hold for the foreseeable future. You’re welcome.