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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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  • Ice storm for NE, and the Groundhog should sleep in!

    A deadly storm system that pounded the Plains and Midwest is now moving into the Northeast bringing with it heavy snow, ice, rain and everything inbetween.   Ice storm warnings are up for parts of the Central Appalachians up thru New York State and now into New England.    Cold air is in place while the warmer rain over-runs  the freezing layer, and as it falls through, it freezes on contact with the roads, the tree limbs and the power-lines.   A very dangerous day for travel.   No one should be on the roads today or tonight travelling.

    Further south where the temperature is above freezing, the potential for thunderstorms continues along the Delmarva and Mid Atlantic, and over the Great Lakes we’ll see close to a foot of snow or more by the time the storm moves out.   My relatives in Canada could see close to 2 feet of snow in Ontario and Quebec which will be crippling today and tomorrow.

    So the groundhog is supposed to make an appearance tomorrow…as I mentioned, I’d be inclined to sleep through it if I was him….


    Just incase you’re interested in reading about all things ground-hog here’s some interesting statistics:

    -Groundhogs are rodents in the Sciuridae (squirrel) family that go by several other names including woodchuck and whistlepig.

    -The name woodchuck comes from a Cree Indian word, wuchak, which was used for several different animals of similar size and color, including other marmots.

    -This very vocal animal carries the nickname “whistle-pig” for the various hisses, squeals, growls, barks and teeth chattering noises it emits.

    -How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Based on the typical burrow a woodchuck digs, a scientist at Cornell University estimated the answer would be close to 700 pounds.

    -The elaborate architecture of a woodchuck burrow with lengths of 20-30 feet, include spy-holes, a toilet chamber, nest and nursery.

    -During hibernation, the body temperature of a woodchuck drops from 97°F (36°C) to less than 40°F (4°C). Its breathing slows to once every six minutes, and its heartbeat slows from 100 beats per minute to four.

    -Groundhog Day developed from the European tradition of Imbolc and Candlemas Day, marking the day between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. On that date, good weather meant more winter was on the way, bad weather meant the end of the cold season. This tradition was first linked to the appearance of the groundhog February 2, 1886, when Punxsutawney Spirit editor Clymer Freas reported the furry creature had not seen his shadow, thus an early spring was in the forecast.

    (thanks to David Mizejewski, Naturalist  National Wildlife Federation for this info – if you want to read more about Ground Hog Day and it’s origin, you can paste or click here:

about this blog

  • Janice Dean joined FOX News Channel in January 2004 and currently serves as Senior meteorologist. She is a member of the American Meteorological Society and was awarded the AMS Seal of Approval in 2009. Dean is the author of the forthcoming children's book, "Freddy the Frogcaster" (Regnery Kids) which will be published in August. You can also follow Janice on Twitter.