From the ABC 7 Weather team

Phil Says An Early Spring! But How Accurate Is The Groundhog?

February 5, 2013 - 05:00 AM
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Punxsutawney Phil doesn't see his shadow, so the rodent predicts an early spring. But how often does the groundhog get the forecast right?


So Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow, which means an early spring... but does it really?  How accurate is this groundhog? 

NOAA put together a great table of Phil's forecast vs. the U.S. National Temperature for February and March dating back to 1888.  Check it out.


Now Phil's been predicting the spring forecast for quite some time.  In fact, he's the oldest weather person in the books!  The Groundhog Day tradition has been around since the 18th century.  It's an ancient celebration of the midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox.  Groundhog day occurs every year on February 2nd.  Legend has it that fair weather is a foreshadowing of a stormy and cold second half to winter. 

When Phil emerges from his hole, after a long winter's sleep, on February 2nd if he sees his shadow, Phil thinks it's an omen, and returns to his hole for six more weeks of winter.  If Phil does not see his shadow, he takes it as a sign of an early spring and stays above ground.  

Phil has predicted an early spring this year, but according to NOAA's research, Phil's not getting the forecast correct, as often, especially in the most recent years. 

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