Punxsutawney Phil – the legendary groundhog weather watcher – woke up and saw his shadow Thursday morning, calling for six more weeks of winter.
Each February 2, on Groundhog Day, the members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club make the pilgrimage to Gobbler’s Knob, Phil’s official home.
The group waits for Phil to leave his burrow and, legend has it, if he sees his shadow we’re in for six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, we get to bask in an early spring.
Scientifically speaking, winter will officially come to an end on the equinox on March 20, regardless of what Phil predicts. But Mother Nature doesn’t always follow the timetable, and neither does Phil.
Though Phil has no meteorology degree, every year the United States tunes in for his prediction.
Phil’s track record is not perfect. “On average, Phil has gotten it right 40% of the time over the past 10 years,” according to the National Centers for Environmental Information, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which manages “one of the largest archives of atmospheric, coastal, geophysical, and oceanic research in the world.”
The three-month temperature outlook for February through April 2023 calls for above normal temperatures across the eastern and southern US and below normal temperatures for the northwestern US, according to the Climate Prediction Center.
Phil and his friends at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, have been predicting the seasons since 1887, according to his website.
Despite his mixed record when it comes to actually forecasting the weather, there’s no doubt Phil’s fans still hold him in high regard.
After all, his full title is Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary.
Phil is not alone in his prognosticating role. In fact, there are many others like him. States including Ohio, North Carolina, New York, Georgia, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Illinois, Maryland, West Virginia, and Michigan have their own groundhog weather watchers.
Some of the more colorful names include Pierre C. Shadeaux of Louisiana, General Beauregard Lee of Georgia and Staten Island Chuck from New York – to name just a few. So, if you don’t like Phil’s forecast, chances are one of the other groundhogs will predict something you do like.