Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil Predicts 6 More Weeks of Winter
More winter? What winter? Just how accurate is that groundhog?
Punxsutawney Phil might be a little off his game. This morning at 7:25, the rodent meteorologist saw his shadow – predicting six more weeks of winter – leaving some to question his credentials as temperatures have soared 20 or more degrees above normal in the past few days and weeks.
Phil's critics include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which has been tracking his predictions since 1988. The administration claims there is "no predictive skill for the groundhog during the most recent years of this analysis."
NOAA provides this table as proof:
|Year||Shadow||February Temperature||March Temperature|
|2011||No||Slightly Below||Slightly Above|
|2008||Yes||Slightly Above||Slightly Below|
|2001||Yes||Slightly Above||Tied Average|
But wait, back on Oct. 20, 2011, the NOAA's Prediction Center released its first outlook for winter 2011-12 (Dec. 1, 2011 to Feb. 29, 2012), forecasting colder-than-normal temperatures from northern Idaho east into Michigan, making us wonder if Phil keeps similar track on NOAA?
At any rate, just be thankful we didn’t have a repeat of Groundhog Day last year when snow emergencies were declared in Berkley and Huntington Woods as a massive storm moved through the area.