Members of Punxsutawney Phil's top hat-wearing inner circle revealed their forecast at sunrise on Saturday, as the Midwest and East Coast recovered from this week's unsafe polar vortex and freezing cold temperatures. It's observed each year on February 2 (which is a Saturday this year) as this is the midpoint of winter. The answer is determined by a group of top-hatted men, who consult a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil, dubbed the "seer of seers". As silly as it all may sound, the ceremonial tradition goes back to 1886, and has maintained an enduring cultural legacy. So, is it early spring or more winter forecast? This is a rare "prediction" considering Phil sees his shadow about 80% of the time. The groundhog will leave his burrow at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2 for the annual Groundhog Day ceremony.
"There is no predictive skill for the groundhog during the most recent years of the analysis", the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information states on its website.
How accurate has the groundhog been?
Will Phil predict six more weeks of winter?
Just when you thought the holidays were over, Groundhog Day rolls around again to remind you that, somewhere out there, a bunch of people have flocked to a small town in Pennsylvania to wait for a large rodent to predict the weather. Ten years of data is missing from their predictions. Meanwhile, Sir Walter Wally of Raleigh, N.C.is 68% accurate, and Unadilla Bill of Unadilla Neb.is even better, claiming an impressive 83% accuracy rate.
Mother Nature hadn't been all that kind to the region as Groundhog Day approached.
Katie Wolf of New Cumberland, Pa., wears a groundhog costume to the 133rd Groundhog Day celebration on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. However, some will hold to their winter wonders, as there's always a mixed bag of expectations for Phil on his big day.
The congressman then pivoted to his first month in Washington during the shutdown: "I had to spend a lot of time in D.C. dealing with a lot of trivial, absurd, childish human beings, so it's great to be up here to figure out whether a furry animal is going to bring us an early spring".