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.
Rain and thunderstorms spreading to the East on Tuesday will put the brakes on the warmup following Easter weekend.
While remaining on a localized level through Tuesday, severe weather will ramp up across the Plains on Wednesday.
Although spring may be in full swing, more than one-third of the Great Lakes remains covered in ice.
A potent area of low pressure moving into the West will dictate the weather from Washington to Texas heading into the new week.
After taking a tumble Easter Sunday, temperatures will quickly rebound in Boston for Patriots' Day.
There hasn't been any measurable precipitation in San Francisco since April 4.
Southeastern VA (1991)
Torrential rain; 5.89" at Norfolk broke the 24-hour record for April (5.19" set in 1883). This was the most rain in one event since Hurricane Cleo dumped 11.40" from August 31 to September 1, 1964.
Omaha, NE (1992)
Snowfall of 9.3" -- only the 6th time in 100 years that over 1.5" of snow has fallen after April 15th. Only 13.3 inches fell for the entire season before this storm. Other snow totals: Brownsville, NE 14.0" Blair, NE 12.5" Offutt AFB, NE 12.0" Eppley, NE 10.0" Kansas City, MO 2.7"
Sacramento, CA (1880)
7.24" of rain, heaviest in 24 hours.