Groundhog Day: A Few Thoughts on Phil's Forecast

Posted at 12:00 AM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 21:50:46-05

Ahh, Groundhog Day.  It sneaks up on us every February doesn't it?

In many ways, this "holiday" provokes positive emotions, for the public, Pennsylvanians, and meteorologists alike!

For one, "Punxsutawney Phil" is a fairly cute animal.  In addition, for warm weather lovers, he brings at least the "hope" of rapid end to the winter season (in just 2 weeks, versus 6).  On top of all this, the people of Punxsutawney, PA clearly know how to throw one serious party in honor of the occasion, and Bill Murray managed to make a seriously epic comedy about the town!

However, there is that darker side to Groundhog Day as well...  Consider that Phil, (even if you believe in his powers of prognostication), is a serious shadow-seeing pessimist through the years!

In fact, of now the 120 of his forecasts on record, including 2016, he has only forecast a short winter a mere 18 times!

As if that weren't enough, according to the Stormfax almanac, when he does "forecast" that longer winter (and gets all of those Spring lovers down), he has only proven to be right about 35% of the time!  

What does this mean?  Statistically, you'd have a better chance of predicting a longer winter by flipping a coin (50%) than listening to Groundhog Phil!

In any case, I encourage you to enjoy the holiday, and if you can make it, even go join the massive party at Gobbler's Nob in Punxsutawney.  Just please, don't go putting too much weight in ole Phil's forecast once he finally delivers it!