Groundhog Day: How Often Does Punxsutawney Phil Get It Right?


Every February, a small, furry mammal with buck teeth gets trotted out in front of a crowd in Pennsylvania to take part in a time-honored Groundhog Day tradition: If the beloved groundhog Punxsutawney Phil “sees” his shadow, the country is in for six more weeks of winter; if he doesn’t, we’re in for an early spring.

The prognosticating woodchuck saw his shadow today (Feb. 2). However, last year, the pudgy groundhog did not see his shadow, suggesting an early spring.

But how often are Phil’s shadowy forecasts accurate?

A team of wonks at The Washington Post actually did the math. They calculated the average daily temperatures during the six weeks after Groundhog Day for the past 30 years, comparing the temperatures in the years when Phil saw his shadow to those in the years he did not.