Friday, February 5, 2010

Why Minnesota Doesn't have a Punxsutawney Phil

Punxsutawney Phil has a good job. For a groundhog. All he has to do is come out every February 2, and either see his shadow: or not. The job must agree with him. According to the Groundhog Day website, Phil's over 120 years old.

I'm not sure I believe that.

It's a good thing Punxsutawney Phil lives in Pennsylvania. If his home was in Minnesota, he'd never have gotten that reputation as a long-range weather forecaster: The climate here isn't boring.

There's quite a lot of truth in the old saying: that if you don't like the weather in Minnesota, wait a few minutes. It'll change. Here in central Minnesota, for every month of the year there's been a time when the temperature has been above freezing, and one when it's been below freezing.

There's some regularity, of course. January's generally the coldest month, and July the hottest: with August running a close second. And you can count on no snow falling from May through September. As a rule. Most years.

Rain? That's come in every month of the year. When it rains in winter, driving gets: interesting. If it hasn't frozen on the streets by sunset, it will soon after. And at night, patches of road with the traction of a skating rink look just like the rest of the pavement.

Then there was the time my father told me about, when National Guard arctic maneuvers were canceled, due to inclement weather.

Like I said, Minnesota's climate isn't boring.

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