Great News for Powderhounds! Punxsutawney Phil Predicts 6 More Weeks of Winter

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Punxsutawney Phil, Groundhog Day
Phil predicted an early spring in 2020! Credit: ABC7Chicago

In Gobbler’s Knob, PA, at the crack of dawn on February 2nd, 2021, the nation’s most famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow — meaning six more weeks of winter, according to longstanding folklore.

The annual event has its origin in a German legend that says if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Feb. 2, winter continues. If not, spring comes early – Oregon Live

How accurate was Phil’s 2020 ‘forecast’?

Last year, Phil “predicted” a shorter winter and early spring when official observers declared he did not see his shadow.

But in fact, the contiguous United States saw above-average temperatures for both February and March 2020, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information

  • The average contiguous U.S. temperature during February was 36.2°F, 2.3°F above the 20th-century average. This ranked among the warmest one-third of the 126-year period of record.
  • For March, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 46.1°F, 4.6°F above the 20th-century average. It was the 10th-warmest March in the 126-year period of record.

Find out about how different parts of the country fared last year.

What does the long-term scorecard show?

As Phil surely knows, accurate seasonal forecasting is hard work.

According to longstanding folklore, famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on February 2, 2021, which means the U.S. is likely to see 6 more weeks of winter this year. This updated 2021 infographic shows the groundhog’s history of seasonal “predictions” (seeing his shadow or not) from 2011 through 2020. As for this year, we’ll have to wait and see if Phil’s prediction rings true. (NOAA NCEI)

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