Punxsutawney Phil: Can He Be Trusted?

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Punxsutawney Phil came out of his den to predict the weather for us again this year and since he saw his shadow, we are doomed for a longer winter or are we? For years, people have waited for the groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil to tell us if we can expect six more weeks of winter or an early spring. If the groundhog comes out and sees his shadow, it means more winter. If he comes out and doesn't see it or is not frightened by it, it means spring is just around the corner.

Sure it's fun to enjoy the tradition of Groundhog's Day, and it would be interesting if a groundhog really could predict the weather, but the truth is, Punxsutawney Phil may be a bit of a fibber and maybe even, a fraud. Long range weather predictions are somewhat impossible, even for the best meteorologists. Even though it may seem like Punxsutawney Phil is mostly accurate, his winter weather predictions are simply a coincidence.

In fact, Phil has failed to predict the weather correctly for the last two years. While his handler and many fans have made several excuses for the sleepy groundhog, it still doesn't change the fact that he was wrong. According to Stormfax.com. Phil has only predicted the weather correctly 39 percent of the time since 1887. Not bad for a groundhog, but not accurate enough make him trustworthy.

Phil shouldn't feel bad about his mess ups. After all, according to some meteorologists, nobody can predict the weather at such a long range.


"Let me state emphatically that no one – with any degree of accuracy – can predict the specific days when cold snaps or storms will occur months in advance," said Jason Samenow, The Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist.

So do you believe that a groundhog can predict the weather or do you think this unique tradition is just for fun?

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

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