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How accurate is Groundhog Day? Here’s how often Punxsutawney Phil really gets the weather right

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. – Every Feb. 2, America turns to the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, for a sliver of hope that the cold winter will end sooner rather than later.

That is where a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil is roused from a stump on Gobbler’s Knob each year.

Legend has it that if the large rodent sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter weather are ahead. If not, spring will arrive early.

The animal prognosticator has been at it since the 1880s. Records kept by the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club show Phil has predicted 108 continued winters and only 20 early springs as of 2024. According to the Stormfax Almanac, that works out to a 39% accuracy rate for Phil.

In the near term, the groundhog’s accuracy rate is slightly better. According to the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Phil has been right about 40% of the time over the past decade.

In 2021, Phil predicted more winter. According to NOAA, his forecast was about half right. February 2021 was the coldest since 1989, but March turned out to be warmer than average.

Groundhog handler AJ Derume holds Punxsutawney Phil, who saw his shadow, predicting a late spring during the 136th annual Groundhog Day festivities. Getty Images

Phil saw his shadow again in 2022, which meant another prediction of a continued winter. NOAA experts said he again missed the mark.

While February was slightly colder than average, March’s temperatures were much warmer than average.

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