Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania rodent who each year predicts the timing of spring, saw his shadow Thursday, meaning there will be six more weeks of winter.
Or, at least that’s what the legend says.
Early Thursday, with temperatures around 14 degrees, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle brought Phil out of his den in front of a large crowd to “hear” his prediction.
The news wasn’t good.
Phil, in what the club calls “groundhogese,” said he saw his shadow.
Every year on Feb. 2, Phil is taken from his burrow to offer a prediction on what type of weather the United States will see in the coming weeks.
If Phil sees his shadow as he emerges from his home, the country will see six more weeks of wintery weather.
If he doesn’t, we are in for an early spring.
While it makes for a nice mid-winter distraction, Phil isn’t very good at long-range weather forecasting.
Records kept since 1887, when the first Phil made his prediction, show the groundhog has been right only about 39% of the time, according to the Stormfax Weather Almanac.
Compare that to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which is correct about long-term forecasts about 80% of the time.
According to records, Phil is more likely to see his shadow on Feb. 2. He has predicted a longer winter season 106 times since 1887. He has failed to see his shadow – predicting an early spring – only 29 times.
Phil is not the only weather-predicting animal in the US.
In Jackson, Georgia, groundhog General Beauregard Lee did not see his shadow Thursday, predicting an early spring for the Peach State. Likewise, Chuck, the groundhog from Staten Island, New York, did not see his shadow.
In Connecticut, groundhog Chuckles and prairie dog Beardsley Bart, are both calling for spring to come early.
On Long Island, New York, conflicting forecasts were offered by Malverne Mel, who predicted an early spring, and Holtsville Hal, who said he saw six more weeks of winter for the country.
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