Groundhog Hog Day Is A Weird & Inaccurate Weather Forecast
Groundhog Day may be America's oddest holiday, and we certainly have a few (looking at you St. Patrick's Day and Thanksgiving).
Regardless of the day's eccentricities, many across the U.S. wait with baited, wintery breath to hear if they'll be saved by an early spring.
Here's how it works: If the groundhog sees his shadow after emerging from his burrow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't see his shadow, then spring is coming!
But how accurate are groundhog's at predicting the changing of the seasons?
Unfortunately, not very. The much lauded Punxsautany Phil only has a 39 percent record of accuracy, according to the National Climactic Data Center. Compare that to the National Weather Service, who is so accurate that not only do television forecasters use their data, pollster and data scientist Nate Silver praises their accuracy (though we all know his political predictions in 2016 were, shall we say, less than accurate).
Phil has seen his shadow 87 percent of the time, so the odds are fairly good that the groundhog will deliver bad news to everybody, but snowboarders and penguins.
Still, there is something pleasing about watching a weather forecast from an adorable little fuzzball who emerges from his man cave to grumble about the weather. It's just so relatably dad.
Fun Fact: Groundhogs have acquired quite a few nicknames over the years including woodchuck, whistle pig, ground pig, moonack, monax, and wuchack.
There are a handful of notable groundhog weather forecasters; the most famous being Phil whose full name is Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary.
The great state of New Jersey's Milltown Mel II is lesser known, but looking to make a name for himself.
Don't forget The Staten Island Chuck, also known as Charles G. Hogg, who is more well known for biting New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg than the accuracy of his predictions.
Our friends to the north have Nova Scotia's Shubencadie Sam and the town of Wiarton's boasts the albino groundhog Wiarton Willie.
Whether you're looking for an early spring or a long winter, a handful of prognostacious east-coast groundhogs will be able to tell you 39 percent of the time.