By: Terry Simpson
The saying, “If you don’t like Kentucky’s weather, just wait until tomorrow,” usually holds pretty true and this past week was no exception.
While everyone prepared for the annual “Groundhog Day,” to get Punxsutawney Phil’s take on the roller coaster of weather that the county has been experiencing, Monroe Countians were battling the lowest temperatures of the season.
However, as if the groundhog himself waved a magic wand, locals dared to think — an early spring? Could that be possible based on recent weather?
The annual “Groundhog’s Day” holiday fell on Saturday, Feb. 2, and warm weather quickly followed.
The “holiday” is derived from an ancient tradition of German descent brought to America by immigrants, who used hedgehogs to predict weather in their home country. However, as immigrants settled in the hills of Punxsutawney, Penn., they began the popular tradition of today, replacing the hedgehog with a groundhog.
The official annual “groundhog” event is held in Punxsutawney, with the rodent predictor affectionately named “Punxsutawney Phil,” predicting the arrival of spring each year, making his annual weather predictions since 1887 according to traditions.
Every Feb. 2, the groundhog (who sees his shadow about 90% of the time) awakens from a long winter’s nap, and steps outside his den to look for his shadow.
According to legend, if Phil sees his shadow (if it’s a sunny morning), six more weeks of winter will follow as he returns to his den to sleep. However, if the day is cloudy and he does not “see his shadow,” Phil will play outside of his den for a while as spring is on the way, he predicts.
Other “predictors” of the weather are known around the country, but few are as well-known as Phil’s ability to predict the remainder of winter. Honestly, who is to say any of the scientific methods — or Phil’s behavior — are any more correct than the other.
But Monroe Countians were certainly hopeful when Saturday’s overcast skies led to Phil’s prediction of an early spring.
The following day temperatures soared and many residents had hope.
What a welcome relief the weather change was, after near record cold temperatures the previous week in the Eastern half of the country, shut down most of the region with temperatures dropping into dangerously low numbers in the early week and the wind-chill making things even worse.
Those changes in the weather have been quite drastic as January ended and February began in Monroe County, with the Monroe County School District (MCSD) even closing for two days, using the allotted MCSD At Home Days and some businesses in the area opting to close for those days as well.
During this cold wave, we at The Tompkinsville News asked our readers to share their views on “how cold is it,” and as usual they stepped up and shared their lives with us.
Thankfully the freezing temperatures did not stick around for very long as the weather quickly reached those spring-like temps toward the end of the weekend, as promised by Phil.
As the sun finally came out, so did our readers, enjoying the beautiful day. We once again asked for even more pictures, this time of readers outside activities after being trapped inside their own dens for several days.
And as always, they did not disappoint.
Always follow the Monroe County Press-Tompkinsville News FaceBook page and webpage at www.tompkinsvillenews.com for Readers’ Contests and up-to-date information for our community.
What does the weather hold for Monroe County tomorrow? Just wait — it is a day-to-day rollercoaster, even Phil thinks so.