PETA on Groundhog’s Day: Use ‘Robots Not Rodents’ and More Weather News


With Groundhog’s Day arriving on Sunday, February 2, PETA is speaking out, calling on The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club to retire its groundhog Punxsutawney Phil by getting with the times and replacing the rodent with an AI groundhog robot; plus, more of today’s weather news and forecast.

PETA: “Robots not rodents” on groundhog’s day

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wants to end the annual practice of using a groundhog to predict how many weeks are left of winter on Groundhog’s Day and is urging the organization to switch to using an artificially intelligent (AI) groundhog robot instead.

PETA sent a letter to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club in which the animal-rights advocacy group asked for the current incarnation of groundhog “Punxsutawney Phil” to be sent to a “reputable sanctuary” to live out the remainder of his life.

In a tweet, PETA informed the public of the letter it sent, writing: “Times change. Traditions evolve. It’s way overdue for long-suffering #PunxsutawneyPhil to be retired. We sent a letter to #Punxsutawney Groundhog Club President asking them to use an AI groundhog that can ACTUALLY predict the weather on #GroundhogDay.”

“Gentle, vulnerable groundhogs are not barometers,” Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said a PETA press release. “PETA is offering the club a win-win situation: Breathe life into a tired tradition and finally do right by a long-suffering animal.”

As part of the annual Groundhog’s Day tradition, on every February 2, a ceremony is held at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, in which a groundhog is used to predict whether there will be an early spring or six more weeks of winter based on if the animal will see its shadow or not.

Groundhog weather prediction isn’t science

The use of a groundhog to predict the weather isn’t scientific.

In fact, in over 120 years of the tradition, Punxsutawney Phil only has a 47% accuracy rate for predicting an early spring, according to Live Science. It’s no better than flipping a coin.

Nor’easter could impact Eastern US this weekend

A potential nor’easter moving northward out of the Gulf of Mexico beginning on Friday has the potential to impact a large swath of the Eastern US over the weekend.

The storm is forecast to span from Alabama and Georgia to the south, all the way north to Maine. The breadth of the storm is expected to span from the eastern coast, as far west to the interior as mid-Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana.

Forecasters say the storm could bring heavy rain with the potential of flooding to the eastern areas, while bringing snow to the interior areas. They say it is still a bit too early to make accurate predictions on potential snow accumulation.

Nonetheless, the storm is expected to impact weekend travel Friday through Sunday.

Today’s US highs:

Northwest & Northern Rockies: Seattle 50, Portland 51, Boise 42, Billings 49, Bismarck 29, Rapid City 44.

West: San Francisco 59, Los Angeles 75, Reno 50, Las Vegas 65, Salt Lake City 38, Denver 46.

Southwest: Phoenix 67, Albuquerque 48, El Paso 65, San Antonio 65.

Central: Kansas City 34, Oklahoma City 43, Dallas 51, Houston 56, New Orleans 61, Memphis 58.

Upper Midwest: Minneapolis 25, Detroit 33.

Ohio Valley: St. Louis 35, Chicago 33, Cincinnati 39.

South: Charlotte 52, Atlanta 53, Jacksonville 65, Tampa 73, Miami 80.

East: Norfolk 47, Washington 45, Buffalo 29, New York 42, Boston 39, Bangor 12.