Groundhogs are Liars

 In Bradenton, Florida, Holiday, Holidays, Landscaping, Nature, Plants, Sarasota, SWFL, Uncategorized

Once a year, he comes to answer our questions.  Will winter linger?  Will the cold continue to wither our garden plants?  Will spring come early?

To coin a phrase, only the shadow knows … or does it?

Groundhog Day is upon us.  In fact, February 2, 2019 marks Punxsutawney Phil‘s 133rd prediction.  According to the myth, if he sees his shadow, we can expect six more weeks of winter.  Otherwise, spring will come early.  This year, will he see his shadow?  Does it matter?  Perhaps we need to accept that …


In Southwest Florida, we are accustomed to mild weather.  When Groundhog’s Day comes around, many of us hope that no shadow will be seen.  Sure, we know that a groundhog’s shadow is no accurate predictor of the weather, but winter’s cold snaps are brutal compared to our tropical climate.  When Groundhog’s Day rolls around, who doesn’t want a glimmer of hope?  But how often does Punxsutawney Phil get it wrong?  Does science do much better?

Punxsutawney Phil: The Shade of it All

Historically, Punxsutawney Phil has a poor track record.  In an interview with Life’s Little Mysteries, a sister site of, Tim Roche, a meteorologist at Weather Underground, explains that Phil’s accuracy is pretty low.  In fact, since 1969, Roche notes that the groundhog’s predictions have only been accurate about 36 percent of the time!  So, if the groundhog isn’t going to help us, who will?

Science to the Rescue?

When it comes to predicting winter’s behavior, meteorologists have a bit of an edge over good old Punxsutawney Phil.  Instead of relying on a shadow, meteorologists look to multiple factors.  The jet stream , a barrier for hot and cold air, is one such factor.  Its path determines when and where cold weather falls.  However, the jet stream doesn’t act alone.  It is influenced by multiple weather systems and conditions all over the world!


Look to the Past.  Plan for the Future.

Meteorologists cannot predict the future.  Just ask anyone living in Florida.  Like hurricane seasons, every winter is going to be different.  However, we are not totally in the dark.  Past winters uncover trends that help to plan for the future.  This is especially useful for those who wish to protect garden plants and landscape features from freezing temperatures.

Southwest Florida Winter Trends

Data collected from, an amazing resource for freezing temperature planning, indicate that Southwest Florida counties generally have more than a 50/50 chance of freezing temperatures during winter. For example, Manatee and Sarasota Counties have a 62 percent and 64 percent freezing chance, respectively.  This chance gets significantly lower in the later months of winter.  The chance of a freeze later than the last week of February is only 10 percent.

What to Expect

Just like groundhogs and meteorologists, we can’t predict how the rest of our winter is going to behave.  What we can tell you is to be prepared.  Luckily, we have you covered … literally.  1 Stop Landscape Supply carries a selection of frost jackets and frost blankets.  We even carry many tools that you will need if that coveted early spring arrives.

If you want to find out more just give us a call at 941-739-1020 or visit our website at

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