Punxsutawney Phil Predicts An Early Spring For The Second Consecutive Year!


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Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow for a second consecutive year, indicating an early spring (Credit: Groundhog.org)

Amid the excitement of Super Bowl LIV, which ended with the Kansas City Chiefs' first championship title in fifty years, it may have slipped your mind that yesterday was Groundhog Day. Observed annually on February 2, the fun North American tradition stems from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog, emerging from its burrow, sees its shadow, winter will continue for six more weeks. Conversely, the animal's failure to observe one indicates that spring is around the corner.

There are now numerous groundhogs and other animals across the country, such as the Texan armadillo Bee Cave Bob, who attempt to predict the weather on this day. However, it is the 134-year-old Punxsutawney Phil — purportedly kept alive by a mysterious elixir — who remains the most popular! As is the case annually, hundreds of people trekked to Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, PA, in the wee hours of the morning to witness the legendary woodchuck make his prophecy about the second half of winter.

Crowds of anxious fans gathered at Gobbler's Nob in Punxsutawney, PA to hear Phil's prediction (Credit: Groundhog.org)

The storied woodchuck, pulled out of his burrow by two handlers donned in tuxedos and top hats, carefully surveyed his surroundings before conveying his prediction to one of them in "Groundhogese." The crowd anxiously waited as the messenger translated Phil's message into English and announced: "Now my forecast on a day that's a palindrome will cause some to cheer and some to moan. So do I hope you think it's neighborly, for there is no shadow of me, spring it'll be early, it's a certainty."

While cross country rival Staten Island Chuck's prediction was not unveiled with such pomp, he concurred with Phil. Given that the two woodchucks have over a hundred years of weather predictions between them, is it time to start putting away your winter gear? Not so fast, say experts.

Human meteorologists remain skeptical about Phil's weather-predicting abilities (Credit: NOAA)

Though Phil's fans assert the woodchuck has never been wrong since he began making the prophecy in 1887, the experts at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center beg to differ. Their analysis indicates that in the past decade, the legendary groundhog has been right just 40 percent of the time. An examination of his overall record shows an even lower, 39 percent accuracy rate.

But given that 2020 marks only the 20th time the rodent meteorologist has foreseen an early spring, he may prove the human experts wrong. Additionally, supporters point out that in 2014, the only other time Groundhog Day coincided with Super Bowl Sunday, Phil's prophecy of a long winter proved accurate, with the brutally cold weather extending well into March.

2/2/20 was a rare universal palindrome that is encountered very rarely (Credit: Weather.gov/newport/Twitter)

Then there is also the fact that 2/20/20 was an extra special Groundhog Day, as the digits of its date made up a rare universal palindrome: a sequence that read the same way backward and forward, regardless of the date format used. Only time will tell if Phil and Chuck, who both proved wrong with their early spring prediction in 2019, will buck the trend this year. However, one thing is for sure, the rodent meteorologists are in no danger of getting fired from their "jobs" any time soon!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Resources: Wikipedia.org, CNN.com. Washingtonpost.com, Groundhog.org

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  • alyssathecool
    alyssathecoolFriday, February 21, 2020 at 4:07 pm
    I can not wait but I think the ground not should get married and have kids so his kid can take over when he dies! Because I still want early spring sometimes.
    • abel12344321
      abel12344321Friday, February 21, 2020 at 8:51 am
      i Love spring😌^O^
      • cookie_panda
        cookie_pandaThursday, February 27, 2020 at 5:42 am
        I agree 🕶
      • cheerleadergal
        cheerleadergalWednesday, February 19, 2020 at 5:13 pm
        yeah spring isbetter
        • cloudstar_360
          cloudstar_360Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 6:03 pm
          I would die of cabin fever if I had to hear though 1 more week of winter. Isn't spring supposed to be warm? Because my teacher would let us go outside even though every other grade got to go out! (Exccept second grade.) Totally unfair!!!🙄
        • lakep1
          lakep1Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at 12:27 pm
          yay spring :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
          • dogs-rule
            dogs-ruleTuesday, February 18, 2020 at 5:31 am
            so cute
            • amara10
              amara10Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 2:24 pm
              Phil please say springs coming😥
              • tinydancer07
                tinydancer07Friday, February 14, 2020 at 7:08 pm
                Sadly Phil is only right 40%of the time. But it is still awesome that he can predict the whether!
                • orangesauce
                  orangesauceFriday, February 14, 2020 at 7:11 am
                  Hooray for Phil!
                  • docterstrange
                    docterstrangeThursday, February 13, 2020 at 6:48 pm
                    I want Phill! Like/follow if you want him too.
                    • voguefashion
                      voguefashionThursday, February 13, 2020 at 12:15 pm
                      I love Phil he is so cute!