Do Montanans Care About What That Groundhog Says about Winter?
In the words of weatherman Phil Connors, "Well...It's groundhog day again." The day that everyone seems to care what a rodent on the east coast has to say. Well, almost everybody.
Montanans tend to scoff at the annual prediction from Punxsutawney Phil. When that celebrity fuzz ball somehow predicts the duration of winter, we here in Montana are just catching our stride when it comes to enduring the season. So, when Phil predicts "six more weeks of winter," Montanans just smile and grab a snow shovel.
If you look at Punxsutawney, PA, and Missoula, MT on a map, Pennsylvania might as well be considered a southern state in comparison. Montana is a whole 6 degrees latitude north of Pennsylvania, meaning that the possibility of spring temperatures arriving in PA is greater than they are in MT. So while Punxsutawney Phil is drinking cocktails poolside, his Montana cousins (marmots) will probably still be making snow angels.
There is no such thing as groundhogs in Montana. The closest thing we have to a groundhog is the "yellow-bellied marmot." We here in Montana call them "rock chucks," and they can grow as large as 2 feet long and weigh nearly 6 lbs. From what we have seen on the internet, our version of the groundhog may not predict the weather. But, thanks to the following viral video, they can surely express how we all feel about the amount of winter ahead of us.