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Boston Weather: 28.0°F | A Few Clouds

Weather: Winter part deux?

By David Flagg
STAFF METEOROLOGIST -- Yesterday was the coldest day in Cambridge since last January, as biting Wednesday, Feb. 2 is Groundhog Day. According to legend, this peculiar tradition derives from the early Christian observance of Candlemas Day, also seen as a mid-point of the winter season. The old Scottish rhyme: “If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year” is one example of this folklore. After the Romans imported this concept to the Teutons in modern Germany, they chose to identify “bright and clear” with the appearance of an animal shadow (a hedgehog). They also dictated that the “second winter” would be six weeks long. German settlers in the state of Pennsylvania introduced this custom to the U.S., where groundhogs were plentiful and used in place of the hedgehog. Groundhog Day was born. Each year since 1887, revelers in Punxsutawney, PA observe this celebration by yanking the helpless creature, named “Punxsutawney Phil,” out of a tree stump to the delight of several thousand on-lookers and declaring his prognosis. I recommend joining the celebration at least once in a lifetime!

Extended Forecast:

Today: Sunny. High: 39 (4°C)

Tonight: Clear. Low: 20 (-7°C)

Tomorrow: Partly cloudy, seasonal. High: 37 (3°C)

Tomorrow Night: Partly cloudy. High: 25 (-4°C)

Thursday: Increasing clouds, light snow possible. High: 35 (2°C)

Friday: Overcast, possible light rain/snow. High: 36 (2°C)