Groundhog Day is upon us. In fact, February 2, 2018 marks Punxsutawney Phil‘s 132nd 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, he saw his shadow. Does that mean we have six more weeks of Winter? Or could it be that …
In Southwest Florida, many were hoping no shadow would be seen. This winter’s cold snaps have seemed excessive, stripping trees bare, damaging our garden plants, and browning our usually green lawns. Still, we know that the groundhog’s shadow is no accurate predictor of the weather, but how often does Punxsutawney Phil get it wrong? Does science do much better?
Historically, Punxsutawney Phil has a poor track record. In an interview with Life’s Little Mysteries, a sister site of www.livescience.com, 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?
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!
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.
Data collected from agroclimate.org, 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.
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 www.1stoplandscapefl.com.