HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Tuesday, February 2, 2021, is one of the most popular days of the year between the New Year and probably Easter. Why? Because it's the day we decide to let a rodent predict the weather, and people go absolutely nuts.
This year, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter. But what does that mean?
I write this latest blog with a smidge of animosity towards the rodent that gets more love than me. Of course, National Weather Persons' Day is February 5th so I at least have that. I'm serious it's a real day. I've got the information.
It seems that every major community has its own groundhog all of which seem useless because there's only one really important rodent on Groundhog Day. We all know him so let us just acknowledge Punxsutawney Phil.
Punxsutawney Phil has been making predictions since 1887. For one that makes Punxsutawney Phil 134 years old which seems too good to be true. According to PBS, the lifespan of a groundhog is 14 years. We've had many Phils. Since 1887 Punxsutawney Phil has predicted more Winter 104 times, an early Spring 20 times, and 10 times Punxsutawney Phil didn't make a prediction at all.
Remember if the little rodent does not see his shadow then that means an early Spring. If the rodent does see his shadow then we're in for more winter weather.
Over the last 10 years, the main rodent up in Pennsylvania has an accuracy rate of about 50%. In the last 10 years, Punxsutawney Phil has gotten it right 5 out of 10 times. This was calculated on the basis of whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and then looking at the average high temperature for the months of February and March across the United States.
For example: In 2020 Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow and then February and March were both above-average. He was correct. In 2018 Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, but again temperatures were above-average, so he was wrong.