a mash-up of mechanisms & nature
On the second day of February each year a vast cultural mechanism spins into gear as humanity pauses for a few minutes to celebrate the meteorological prognostication of a rodent. Groundhog day, according to various sources, traces its origins back to an odd sort of collision of culture, religion, dual calendar systems, and some pagan ritual mixed in for good measure. In modern incarnations, it involves a tongue-in-cheek reference on the morning radio to the various official shadow-spotters, and (if one is a true fan of the quasi-holiday) a re-watching of the Bill Murray feature film of the same name.
Predicting the weather (as the author has been not-so-subtly informed by personal conversations with actual human meteorologists) is hardly as simple as sky gazing. It continues to improve technologically, to be sure, with the expansion and use of vast satellite networks coupled to incredibly complex computer modeling systems harnessing the power of historical data and climate analysis. Yet, for all that technology, predicting the temperature a few days into the future is still mostly a blend of chance and educated guessing.