A flurry of activity happening Sunday with many talking about the Superbowl, but many were also talking about the date specifically: February 2nd. That's right; Sunday is also Groundhog Day where Punxsutawney Phil is pulled out of his hole in the ground in Pennsylvania to predict whether winter is over or not. Well, like many other years, he saw his shadow which means 6 more weeks of winter is in store. But how much stock can you really put on a rodent predicting the future? So he saw his shadow… big deal. If we are talking about winter, we have 6 more weeks of it whether we like it or not because spring doesn't officially start until the 3rd week of March. So technically, we ALWAYS have 6 more weeks of winter. Now I realize that this is just a fun little game that tradition has us playing to see if there will be an early spring or not, but let's analyze the results. According to this chart from the Huffington Post who gathered their data from the National Climate Data Center (the correct resource), Phil is only accurate about 40% of the time. AND he's only predicting whether temperatures will be above or below average… so basically you have better luck forecasting one or the other by flipping a coin!
So maybe it's time to do away with this little tradition, or at least put less stock and media hype into it, because science is FAR more reliable. Now, it is likely just coincidence, but this year, Phil may actually be right. Check out the current forecast for the remainder of February from the Climate Prediction Center.
This shows a higher likelihood that temperatures across the Upper Midwest will stay below average this month. This would be the 3rd month in a row of below average numbers and would be a pretty fitting end to the winter that just doesn't seem to end.