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, 99 times. There were 16 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 broadcaster 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, it is apparent that for most of the country, winter has been a mere shadow of what typically is. But, we all know it can return."
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski, "Phil determining that spring will come early would match the thinking of the AccuWeather.com Long Range Forecasting Team for parts of the United States."
Regardless of Phil's prediction, Jack Boston, an AccuWeather.com Long Range Forecaster, expects it to feel more mild from the last week of February through much of March, with more frequent warm days for the East.
Phil will emerge to make his prognostication around 7:20 a.m. EST on Thursday.
Who else is excited?
Tomorrow, I shall watch one of my favorite classics of all time -
Bill Murray's Groundhog's Day!
"This is pitiful!
A thousand people...freezing their butts off...waiting to worship a rat!!
What a HYPE!
Groundhog's Day used to mean something in this town.
They used to pull the hog out and they used to eat it!
You're hypocrites! All of ya!
You know...you want a prediction about the weather? - you're asking the wrong Phil.
I'll give you a winter prediction.
It's gonna be cold.
It's gonna be gray.
And its gonna last you
Ci vediamo dopo