Here's some context from the movie Groundhog Day (1993):

Somebody asked me today: “Phil, if you could be anywhere in the world, where would you like to be?” I said to ‘im, “Probably right here... Elko, Nevada.” Our nation’s high at 79 today. In California, they’re gonna have some warm weather tomorrow, gang wars and some very overpriced real estate. Up in the Pacific Northwest, as you can see, they’re gonna have some very, very tall trees.

And also this:

Kenny: That was nice, Phil. “Big trees” [laughs]!

Phil: Stop, Kenny. Look, can you handle the 10 or not?

So, it seems like there's some joke around those very very tall or big trees, which I don't understand. Any help is highly appreciated.

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    Sequoia Dec 7, 2023 at 2:23
  • 2
    I still don't get it. Why is it supposed to be funny? And what does it have to do with the weather report? Dec 7, 2023 at 2:31
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    I think the “joke” (and I use the word loosely) is that most of what he says is not about the weather. There’s social commentary that segues into biology, things one would not expect to hear a weather reporter say. Dec 7, 2023 at 2:36
  • But, nevertheless, he mentions the weather everywhere except for the Pacific Northwest place. So I thought there was something I'm missing here... Dec 7, 2023 at 2:46
  • I always thought that he was referring to icons of trees on the map (which is why he says "as you can see"). The shot of Phil in front of the blue screen is replaced with a view of the TV monitor, with the map, and there are no tree icons. But they could have been on the map when he said it. Dec 10, 2023 at 21:02

3 Answers 3


It's a joke where he is just stating the obvious as a "prediction"

In California, they’re gonna have some warm weather tomorrow, gang wars and some very overpriced real estate.

These are things California is famous for.


Up in the Pacific Northwest, as you can see, they’re gonna have some very, very tall trees.

The Pacific Northwest is renowned for giant redwood so, again, stating the obvious.

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  • 7
    Although it's a bit ironic that the national forests and parks where almost all of the redwoods grow are...actually also in California. Dec 7, 2023 at 20:27
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    @coppereyecat yes there are a lot of redwoods in California, including the world's tallest. But if you were to take the average height of all the trees in each state, which state do you think would come out on top? I think Washington and Oregon would do very well in that contest. Dec 8, 2023 at 3:48
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    @MarkRansom Maybe. There's a lot of dry land in eastern WA and OR that has few trees, and the ones that exist are not big. It would require a lot more effort than just assuming "tall trees on the coast = high average tree height". Dec 8, 2023 at 18:36
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    Not that important, but the range of coast redwoods dosen't really extend into the Pacific Northwest. Up here, the big evergreen trees that we're known for are Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, western hemlock, and western redcedar.
    – Juhasz
    Dec 8, 2023 at 19:48
  • @coppereyecat Most people consider the very northern part of California to be part of the Pacific Nortwest, because the climate and vegetation is so similar to the rest of the PWN (and because the Cascade mountain range extends into California). Dec 10, 2023 at 2:09

It is a joke about the amount of rainfall in the Pacific Northwest, which can be significant. Rain makes the trees grow taller, but it's certainly not useful (in his mind) for anything else.

Regardless of the amount of actual rainfall over the area, the common perception is certainly that it rains all the time in the Pacific Northwest. The main city which often leaps to mind, Seattle, definitely has that reputation, earning it the nickname "Rain City":

With many more "rain days" than other major American cities, Seattle has a well-earned reputation for frequent rain. In an average year, at least 0.01 inches (0.25 mm) of precipitation falls on 150 days, more than nearly all U.S. cities east of the Rocky Mountains. (Wikipedia)

Currently, a Google Search on "pacific northwest rainfall" returns a series of answers to the question "Why does it rain so much in ________", where _______ are cities and states that comprise the area.

The tall trees comment is spoken with, perhaps a mild disgust or contempt. As in who would want to live there, all it ever does is rain.

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    I fail to see how this works in relation to the gang warfare and high house prices gag
    – Valorum
    Dec 8, 2023 at 17:16
  • @Valorum This is in the context of a weather-related news story. Rain is something that most people find unpleasant, just as gang warfare and high housing prices. Although most of the rain in the PWN isn't in Seattle, but on the Olympic Peninsula. They have a number of actual rain forests there. Dec 10, 2023 at 2:12

I take it as just setting the scene for the kind of TV station it is, and about his attitude towards his job. His delivery of the national weather report is not very serious, and not especially informative. Instead of informing viewers about the actual weather in California, Oregon and Washington, he provides stereotype-filled commentary.

California has gang wars and expensive real estate; the PNW has tall trees. Presumably he means sequoias.

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