Will Phil see his shadow on Groundhog Day?
February 03, 2016, 12:36:38 AM EST
Share this article:
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.
"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.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Weather News - November 13, 2018, 2:45:24 PM EST
A developing storm into this weekend will have the potential to bring rain and wind to areas from Italy through the Balkans.
Thanksgiving travel: Most areas of US to dodge major weather-related issues with exception a few pockets of snowfall, rain
Weather News - November 13, 2018, 2:46:07 PM EST
The overall weather pattern is looking much less-stormy for millions that will be taking to the roads and the skies ahead of Thanksgiving starting this weekend across the United States.
During the colder months, the chilly, dry air can zap moisture from the eyes, making contact lenses more likely to irritate a person’s vision.
Weather News - November 13, 2018, 12:47:16 PM EST
The recent lull in tropical activity across the Atlantic Ocean comes to an end this week.
Weather News - November 13, 2018, 1:15:48 PM EST
The weekend before Thanksgiving will bring one of the last major meteor shows of the year as the Leonids streak across the sky.
Weather News - November 13, 2018, 12:40:08 PM EST
Heavy rain and thunderstorms slammed parts of Argentina over the weekend, and more is on the way through Tuesday.
Weather News - November 13, 2018, 9:44:45 AM EST
Cyclonic Storm Gaja, which formed this past weekend in the Bay of Bengal, will track westward through southern India in the coming days.
Weather News - November 13, 2018, 8:39:03 PM EST
Firefighters battling the numerous deadly and destructive blazes across California may finally receive some relief from Mother Nature early next week in what may become one of the most costly weather and climate disasters in United States history.