Is there a method to Punxsutawney Phil's madness in predicting how long winter will last on Groundhog Day?
Since the tradition of Groundhog Day began in Punxsutawney in 1886, Phil has seen his shadow, on record, 100 times. There were 17 times that he did not see his shadow, and nine years during the late 1800s that there is no record of Phil's forecast.
Though Phil's method may seem flawed -- anticipating that the sight of his shadow determines a longer winter, while no shadow calls for an early spring -- he has a tendency to get it right. Because the year's coldest quarter, also known as meteorological winter, runs from Dec. 5 to March 5, Phil's accuracy in predicting a longer winter is about 80 percent.
Phil's logic comes from the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox observances of Candlemas Day, tracing back almost 1,000 years.
"An early association between the weather forecast and the religious observance is found in a Scottish couplet: 'If Candlemas is fair and clear / There'll be two winters in the year.'" AccuWeather.com Chief Forecaster Elliot Abrams said.
"If the weather is 'fair,' the groundhog sees its shadow, and this is supposed to mean six more weeks of winter," Abrams said. "This is somewhat like saying that despite the sunshine on Groundhog Day, more winter is due." In any case, on this Groundhog Day, the Northeast and Northwest can plan on seeing six more weeks of winter.
Phil will emerge to make his prognostication around 7:25 a.m. EST on Feb. 2, 2014.
Whether Phil calls for an early spring or not, the AccuWeather.com Long-Range Forecasting Team predicted that winter will continue for about half of the U.S.
The Bay area will see pleasant conditions hold into the new week with plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures.
A repeat of Saturday's warmth is not expected anytime soon in Pittsburgh with the weather taking a wet and cooler turn.
A repeat of Saturday's warmth is not expected anytime soon in New York City, with the weather taking a cooler, then wet turn.
A pattern favoring waves of progressively cooler air will set up across much of the Midwest and Northeast during next week and could continue into early May.
Round after round of drenching rain will continue to cause flooding in the South, while another dose of rain may renew flooding in the Ohio Valley this weekend.
Ahead of the monsoon season in India, temperatures will swell well above normal in parts of India and Pakistan.
Wyoming, South Dakota (1966)
24" of snow and blizzard conditions in South Dakota. 20" of snow at Lander, Wyoming.
Rapid City, SD (1970)
22" of snow (17th-18th) -- 24-hour record.
Heat wave in Northeast -- 95 degrees in Washington, DC, tied April record. 94 degrees in Philadelphia, PA.