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Groundhog Day: Is Punxsutawney Phil accurate with his forecasts?

Posted at 11:00 PM, Jan 31, 2020

Fans of winter will be rooting for Punxsutawney Phil to crawl out of his burrow early Sunday morning on Groundhog Day to see his shadow, indicating that winter will continue on for another six weeks.

But how accurate is Phil, and will him seeing his shadow mean winter's wrath will continue?

According to information compiled by the National Centers for Environmental Information, Phil has struggled in recent years to accurately predict the weather.

For instance, in 2017, Phil saw his shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter, but the United States mostly basked in a very warm end to winter. 2017 marked the second-warmest February in recorded US history. March was only slightly more mild, marking the ninth-warmest March in recorded US history.

In 2018, Phil saw his shadow, and incorrectly accurately predicted a cool start to spring, according to NOAA data. February ended up being a very warm month for much of the United States, especially in the East. In 2019, Phil did not see his shadow, and February ended up being a warm month for the Northeast.

In the 21st century, Phil has been less than 50 percent accurate with his forecasts.

But other groundhogs claim to have the superior forecasting abilities.

According to a report by the Staten Island Advance , Staten Island' Chuck has been more accurate. The newspaper claims that Chuck has been accurate 80 percent of the time since 1992. Chuck has reportedly nailed his prediction in recent years.

But those in Pennsylvania say that Punxsutawney Phil, who they claim is 133 years old, is the only groundhog capable of weather forecasting, and all others are "imposters."

In case you are wondering, Phil is much more likely to see his shadow than not. He has seen his shadow 104 times compared to not seeing his shadow 19 times. There is no record from 10 Groundhog Days.

If you want to see Punxsutawney Phil's big day, a live stream will be posted on this website, starting at 6 a.m. ET.