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 2010 Yes Below Above 2009 Yes Above Slightly Above 2008 Yes Slightly Above Slightly Below 2007 No Below Above 2006 Yes Above Above 2005 Yes Above Slightly Above 2004 Yes Below Above 2003 Yes Below Above 2002 Yes Above Below 2001 Yes Slightly Above Tied Average 2000 Yes Above Above 1999 No Above Above 1998 Yes Above Below 1997 No Above Above 1996 Yes Above Below 1995 No Above Above 1994 Yes Below Above 1993 Yes Below Above 1992 Yes Above Above 1991 Yes Above Above 1990 No Above Above 1989 Yes Below Above 1988 No Below Above

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 as a massive storm moved through the area.


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