Groundhog Day 2017 is almost here! In less than 24 hours, America will once again be waiting for Punxsutawney Phil to make his annual fearless weather prediction. Will we have an early spring or are we destined for six more weeks of winter? Only Phil knows the answer.
Well, at least he thinks he knows the answer.
Punxsutawney Phil has been making his annual weather prediction for over 100 years now, but just how accurate has this little guy been over time?
According to a Penn Live report, Phil may not be the guy you want to take to Las Vegas for predictions on sporting events or picking keno numbers, but when it comes to determining if the U.S. is in for an early winter, he actually does pretty well.
Punxsutawney Phil, also known as the Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary, has been correct nearly 65 percent of the time over a career that spans 131 years. And when you think about it, that is pretty impressive.
However, critics will argue that flipping a coin might be as accurate as the furry fellow. A USA Today report indicates that since 1988, the groundhog was “right” 14 times and “wrong” 15 times. What that means is only 14 times did the national average temperature for the remainder of February match what would be expected based on what the groundhog predicted. So for awhile, Phil was riding an every other year average of being correct.
However, if you asked Ron Ploucha, one of Phil’s handlers, he would tell you that the 65 percent accuracy number is not correct, it is more like 100 percent, claiming the other 35 percent Phil was misunderstood or misinterpreted.
“Unfortunately, there have been years where the president has misinterpreted what Phil said,” handler Ron Ploucha told PennLive last year. “Because Phil’s never wrong. Phil’s prediction is 100 percent correct, and we blame the variants on the president’s interpretation of Phil’s prediction.”
If you are not familiar with the annual Groundhog Day events or how it works, here is the quick breakdown behind Phil’s journey, and the folklore behind all of the hoopla that takes place every year in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
Legend has it, if it is cloudy when Phil emerges from his burrow on this day, then the spring season will arrive early. However, if the sun rises Thursday morning under clear skies, or there happens to be a break in the clouds and the groundhog sees his shadow, winter weather will persist for six more weeks.
So if you are a fan of spring, you are hoping Phil doesn’t see his shadow.
The early weather forecast for Thursday morning in Punxsutawney, Pa., calls for partly to mostly cloudy skies with a 30 percent light chance of snow, but that doesn’t mean that Phil won’t see his shadow.
While Groundhog Day is a big deal to folks here in the U.S., the Irish sportsbook Paddy Power is getting in on the celebration this February 2 as well.
Paddy Power has a promotional game set just for Groundhog Day that is based on the popular movie Groundhog Day, while several other sports books are also running prop bets that are combining the Super Bowl and Groundhog Day. Some of the prop bets are listed below.
You can watch Punxsutawney Phil’s every move when he makes his annual Groundhog Day weather forecast bright and early tomorrow morning by clicking here. Phil is scheduled to appear at approximately 7:20 a.m. ET Thursday morning.
Groundhog Day Odds
Phil sees his shadow: 1-3
Phil does not see his shadow: 11-5
Super Bowl Props
- Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow and Patriots win the Super Bowl 7/2
- Punxsutawney Phil does not see shadow and Patriots win the Super Bowl 11/5
- Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow and Falcons win the Super Bowl 9/2
- Punxsutawney Phil does not see shadow and Falcons win the Super Bowl 12/5
[Featured Image by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images]