Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is the Groundhog Accurate?

Every February 2nd crowds gather at Gobbler's Knob, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. A groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, burrowed inside his heated simulated tree trunk, is about to thrust or be pulled into the limelight at about 7:25 am once again. The gates open at 3:00 a.m., followed by live entertainment, music and a pre-dawn fireworks display helps to ignite (hopefully not literally!) the crowd that has gathered in anticipation of Phil's forecast. The awe-inspiring fireworks are set to lively music, which is just what the crowd generally needs on a cold rural Pennsylvania morning. Phil, and others like him, makes the most celebrated weather forecast of the year usually around the crack of dawn. Has spring sprung when Phil emerges from his burrow and doesn't see his shadow? Or should he scurry back into his burrow for six more weeks of winter weather if skies are clear and fair?

Historical Track Record of Punxsutawney Phil 1887–2010

  • Shadow Seen= 99 

  •  No Shadow= 16
  •  No Record= 9

As far as accuracy goes, there are no official statistics. Statistics that are kept are literally all of the prediction spectrum. The National Prediction Center has Punxsutawney Phil's accuracy at 35 percent. Other private organizations have the groundhog's accuracy around 80 percent.

>>>Update: Phil did not see his shadow this morning. This "means" we will not have 6 more weeks of winter, and spring is around the corner. His prediction appears to be accurate for Florida but not for many of the Northern States. 


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