February 2nd Groundhog's Weather Prediction Accuracy

Today, quite unusually,, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow predicting an early spring! The Pennsylvania groundhog’s family has been making these predictions for 133 years! When our son was young we learned to sing the song to remember this event:

I’m a Little Groundhog, short and stout.

February 2nd I come out!

If I see my shadow, they will shout,

Six more weeks of winter no doubt!

It’s a fun song for kids and might stimulate their imagination for animal instincts and nature. Also, for the whole family the Bill Murray-Andie MacDowell 1993 movie repeatedly is a fan favorite!

But for rational adults, how accurate are Phil’s predictions as compared to actual temperature results?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is part of the Department of Commerce which includes the National Weather Service. Not only do they provide life-saving, super critical data for all of us everyday, they’ve also compared Phil’s historic predictions to actual temperatures! Here’s some groundhog history:

“Groundhog Day originates from an ancient celebration of the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox—the day right in the middle of astronomical winter. According to superstition, sunny skies that day signify a stormy and cold second half of winter while cloudy skies indicate the arrival of warm weather. “

Surprisingly, Phil’s saw his shadow to predict longer winters 104 years and did not see his shadow to predict early spring 18 years. In the past 10 years, Phil’s been correct only 40% of the time but that is like batting .400!