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, 102 times. There were 18 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.
Groundhog Club handler Ron Ploucha, left, holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 129th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
"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 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 next prognostication around 7:25 a.m. EST on Feb. 2, 2017.
Tropical Storm Matthew has formed in the Caribbean could take a turn toward the United States as a hurricane next week.
It will feel like an extended winter for those living from the northern Plains to the eastern U.S., as cold and snowy conditions last longer than normal.
The final day of September will bring a rare lunar event that hasn’t occurred since March of 2014, a Black Moon.
Rain will spread over much of the northeastern U.S. into the weekend, but persistent downpours will raise the flood risk in part of the mid-Atlantic.
A new typhoon is brewing in the western Pacific Ocean and could pose a risk to Japan, Taiwan and eastern China next week.
Thundery showers set to start this weekend will depart before the season's first National Football League game in London kicks off on Sunday.
Nome, AK (1992)
9 degrees, a record low for September.
First of 3 early 1836 snows: Hamilton, NY: 4 inches of snow Ashby, MA: 2 inches of snow
Cedar Keys, FL (1896)
Hurricane killed 110; $3.8 million damage.