Groundhog Day 2024: Did Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow?

Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania rodent who predicts either the coming of spring or the continuation of winter, did not see his shadow Friday, meaning there will be an early spring.

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Or, at least that’s what the legend says.

Early Friday, with temperatures around 36 degrees, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle brought Phil out of his den in Gobbler’s Knob in front of a large crowd to “hear” his prediction.

The news was good.

Phil, in what the club calls “groundhogese,” said he did not see his shadow

Every year on Feb. 2, Phil is taken from his cozy 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 107 times since 1887. He has failed to see his shadow — predicting an early spring — only 19 times.

Good public relations has made Punxsutawney Phil a celebrity — at least in early February. The name Punxsutawney comes from the Native American name for the location — “ponksad-uteney” — which has nothing to do with groundhogs. In a Delaware Native American language it means “the town of the sandflies.”

The ceremony in western Pennsylvania was the brainchild of a local newspaper editor in the late 1880s but has its roots in Eastern European celebrations of the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox.

Phil is not the only burrow-dwelling animal in the U.S. who likes to take a stab at predicting when the seasons will change.

From his mansion in Jackson, Georgia, groundhog General Beauregard Lee did not see his shadow Friday, predicting an early spring for the Peach State. Likewise, Chuck, the groundhog from Staten Island, New York, was met with overcast skies and claims he did not see his shadow.

In Connecticut, groundhog Chuckles called for spring to come early, as well.

Making it unanimous among weather-predicting animals, Long Island, New York’s, Malverne Mel and Holtsville Hal predicted spring would be here soon.