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Friday,  June 14 , 2024

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News / Clark County News

Weather Eye: Setting aside groundhog’s opinion, it isn’t spring yet

By Patrick Timm, Columbian freelance columnist
Published: February 3, 2024, 6:00am

If you sometimes daydream about weather lore, you’ll enjoy what the groundhog had to say Friday morning.

Actually, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t say anything, of course, but does he have to? Upon exiting his humble dwelling, head held high, he gazed at the large crowd cheering him on. The skies were cloudy, and therefore he didn’t see his shadow. The crowd cheered loudly again as his mouth trembled and, somewhat confused, he slowly closed his eyes and returned to his cozy winter abode.

An early spring has been announced, and here we are. Phil may have been a scapegoat of sorts in the past, with his many forecasts of six more weeks of winter, which is more common than the early-spring prediction.

I’m sure if there were any local groundhogs — or woodchucks, perhaps, at the Portland Zoo — they would have differed with old Phil: We had much brighter skies and, yes, shadows. Six more weeks of winter weather for us? Well, climate-wise, the next four weeks are still winter; by the calendar, it’s more than six weeks.

Along with Phil’s early-spring prognosis, the National Climate Center issued its forecast for February, calling for warmer-than-normal temperatures. Does that rule out any freezing cold or unbearable weather for us? I doubt that. Even though I don’t foresee anything unusual for the next week or 10 days, as you know, February can be a fickle month: bitter cold temperatures with ice and snow, or sunny blue skies and 70 degrees. We have had it all in recent years.

Wednesday’s high of 61 degrees was most pleasant but far from the record high of 65 degrees set in 1935. With that sudden warmth, I saw a bright yellow Narcissus in full bloom along the roadway Thursday — a sure sign of spring’s arrival, although its emergence may be a bit premature.

Sit back and enjoy whatever sun, knowing that spring hasn’t begun. Nature is still in winter’s hold, and it can quickly turn cold. We may desire to rush the season, but we duly follow the daily weather for a reason.

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Columbian freelance columnist