Dear Paul

Expert answers to your most dire questions

Q: How reliable is the Groundhog Day legend?
Groundhog Day is the date that I officially let my mind wander and daydream about the spring to come. Although there is no meteorological evidence that a near-sighted rodent in Pennsylvania has any skill predicting long-term weather, it’s a wonderful tradition. So let’s just hope for a cloudy day to block Punxutawny Phil’s shadow this year.

Q: I’ve decided to reveal my secret crush this Valentine’s Day. Any tips on how to woo her?
Think of a unique, creative way to share your feelings (something other than chocolates and flowers—that’s such a cliché). A pink valentine heart in the snow outside her front door? Maybe spend the bucks and have a sky-writer document your love high above his neighborhood? Subtle symbolism may work better than blurting out an awkward poem over dessert. The old adage “Actions speak louder than words” rings true. Try to avoid what I did: I added a weather graphic with her initials etched into a virtual valentine during the 6 p.m. weather report. It was corny, but it worked (we’ve been married for 25 very good years). Be sincere, tell her why she’s so exceptional, and simply, calmly, why you can’t live without them in your life.

Q: I keep seeing these commercials about the federal mandate for all-digital television. Is this a government conspiracy to boost the plasma-TV market?
There’s a good reason why stations are giving up their analog channels and switching to digital. It’s not a government (or Google) conspiracy. The freed-up frequencies will go to police, fire, and rescue squads in your community. If you have an old, analog TV set, the government has a program to help you make the transition: Visit to get on the waiting list for two coupons worth $40 each for a digital converter box. So you don’t have to say goodbye to that cherished ’79 Zenith. Trust me. I’m a weatherman.

Paul Douglas is a meteorologist, inventor, and businessman living in the Twin Cities. Got a tough question? Send it to