Groundhog Day Forecast

Monday 04th Feb 2013 by theWeather Club

Image: D. Gordon E. Robertson

Groundhog Day, celebrated on 2nd February each year, predicts the arrival of spring according to American folklore. On this particular day, when a groundhog emerges from its burrow, if it is cloudy then spring will come early but if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and winter will continue for another six more weeks.

The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where the renowned groundhog is called Punxsutawney Phil. Nowadays crowds of 40,000 people gather to witness this event that dates back to 1886.

On Saturday, the famous groundhog was taken out of his burrow under a cloudy sky to reveal that spring would come early this year. This is good news for most Americans who have been experiencing some extreme weather of late, but just how scientific is this weather prediction.

A recent study by the National Climate Data Centre in the US has compared the national temperatures from 1988 to 2012 to determine just how accurate some of these groundhog predictions are. Punxsutawney Phil's forecasts are, "on average, inaccurate. The groundhog has shown no talent for predicting the arrival of spring, especially in recent years. And Phil's competitor groundhogs across the US fared no better."