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Posted at 7:25 AM ET, 02/ 2/2011

No shadow for groundhog Phil: Winter to end?

By Jason Samenow

Red and Rover comic by Brian Basset. H/T Steve Tracton

On the 125th anniversary of Groundhog's Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., groundhog Phil failed to see his shadow this morning at 7:25 a.m. amidst overcast skies, light rain showers in the area, and temperatures in the mid-30s.

According to folklore, no shadow for Phil means "there will be an early spring" whereas had he seen his shadow, it would have signified six more weeks of winter.

Since the Groundhog's first prediction in 1887, Phil has seen his shadow 98 times and hasn't seen it 15 times. There are some missing years in the record, but Phil has issued a forecast without exception.

NOAA's National Climatic Data Center posted an analysis of the Groundhog's predictions and concluded "no predictive skill for the groundhog during the most recent years"...

By Jason Samenow  | February 2, 2011; 7:25 AM ET
Categories:  Humor, Latest  
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Next: Forecast: Morning rain, midday warmth



Had no idea the numbers were so skewed towards him seeing his shadow.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 2, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Phil is my best friend ... this year!

Posted by: ThinkWarm | February 2, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Hey Phil, take a look around. 19 feet of snow on the ground and more on the way. When did you start using the same methods as those global warming geniuses?

Posted by: Bcamp55 | February 2, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Why is it when I see this strange ritual I'm seized with the urge to drink vast quantities of beer, stand out in the cold & start yelling?

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 2, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse


Thank you for providing a nice morning chuckle :)

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 2, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

And I don't even like beer. But the hog compells me.....

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 2, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

i think phil's "go outside and look around my house" theory of forecasting is actually much much closer to that of global warming "skeptics". but, i don't think even punxsutawney phil claims to be predicting the winter's remaining length for the whole country, much less the GLOBE.

you rarely hear climate scientists or educated laymen who accept the reality of GLOBAL warming say something like "oh... it's hot where i am today... must be GLOBAL warming."

we understand the difference btwn weather and climate as well as the difference btwn local and GLOBAL. even a stupid groundhog understands that difference better than most global warming "skeptics".

i say this because every time we get snow or get a cold snap, there's someone who says something they think is clever like, "gee, how's that global warming working for ya?" this comment is often followed by something paranoid/conspiratorial about how the government is trying to trick us into something or other.

of course such statements only serve to illustrate these folks' scientific ignorance as well as their ideological reasons for wishing GLOBAL warming wasn't real.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 2, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

give me a break- i heard phil is a stuffed animal-like in the museum of natural history!! i aqree with u FIREDRAGON47--and i never drink beer in pa and we have snow and glass on roads...cabin fever has set in--;-0--here's jonny

Posted by: lauren761 | February 2, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I read somewhere that two surveys of Phil's prognosticating abilities resulted in a 37% and a 39% accuracy rate. Shoot, that's slightly better than your average TV weatherperson. LOL

Posted by: dre7861 | February 2, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I read somewhere that two surveys of Phil's prognosticating abilities resulted in a 37% and a 39% accuracy rate. Shoot, that's slightly better than your average TV weatherperson. LOL

Plus another thing I've never understood about this silly ritual is that if Phil sees his shadow there is six more weeks of winter but if doesn't see his shadow spring will come early. The problem is they never say how early - could it be he's predicting spring will come in five weeks and six days?

Posted by: dre7861 | February 2, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Just once I'd like to see him bite that hand.

@walter: +1.

Posted by: ennepe68 | February 2, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately the forecast is still for six more weeks of winter!!!

The reason: This afternoon's forecast is for PARTLY CLOUDY weather! In fact it's beginning to clear up right now as the fog lifts.

In order for the forecast of an early spring to verify there must be ZERO percent of possible sunshine for the entirety of Groundhog Day from sunrise to sunset. That might still be true up in Punxsatawney, but it sure isn't true here in northern Virginia.

This is probably the reason why some previous forecasts of an early spring have failed to verify.

The origin of the legend goes back to the Old World. Over across the pond they check out whether the hedgehog sees his shadow on Candlemas Day, Feb. 2. Over here the groundhog has replaced the hedgehog and, up in Montana, the groundhog's cousin, the Rocky Mountain marmot looks for his shadow on Groundhog Day. Don't know what they do in India. Perhaps they observe the king cobra while maintaining a respectable distance!

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 2, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Bombo, when the sun came out this afternoon my first thought was hooray! Then I thought, oh no does that mean six more weeks of winter? I return to my mantra for this time of year for the DC have to get through March to rely on the end of winter. This morning gave me some hope, but alas Bombo you have dashed it!

Posted by: erbele | February 2, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Thank you posting the link to the video! Every year I want to show my kids (1st graders) the actual Groundhog seeing his shadow or not but I can never find that years footage online! This year CWG saved the day! :-)

I'm not a fan of spring (allergies) so I'm perfectly happy with the 6 more weeks of winter due to this afternoons sun! Now, the warm weather can go away so the trees stay asleep and maybe we can get more snow!

Posted by: mamory1975 | February 2, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

As I indicated...a completely cloudy, foggy day would have been a better harbinger of an early spring. A radical pattern shift involving a persistent ridge over the southeastern U.S. would be even better.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 2, 2011 11:54 PM | Report abuse

I would like to say some things to the guy so fervently attached to the theory (means unproven) of globle warming. This unproven Idea uses data collected about weather gathered over a few hundred years at most. In statistics, the science of probabilities, that is a mighty slim pool for the types of predictions this theory tries to establish. It tries to predict the weather for the next one hundred years. That is like seeing 2 people wearing blue jackets and state that the next person you see will have a blue jacket. The next jacketed person may be in blue. Did you count the people with no jackets? Are you at the post office with blue jacketed male men. I know you think I am over simplifying the problem, but I am not it is the global warming theorist who believes that a 15 year warming trend means a climate change is simply not looking at the data, and there is not enough of it to draw these conclusions. All statistics are skewed in someway by intent or limitation. The sad part is that these guys who put out these studies are statisticians and know they do not have enough data, and then their is poor little old you who watched discovery channel and wish to claim the title of learned layman or some such, and you come out fighting mad about a theory everyone else knows is just a guess (or theory.) So stop being so obsequious and get your own beliefs stop borrowing from scholars. Scholars are the same guys that a couple hundred years ago that said earth was center of the Universe, the world is flat, and a lot of other wrong things. Scholars have the luxury of being wrong. Thought is the scholars treasure, they will knowingly argue pros whilst believing the Cons. Thought puzzles stuff like that. Well thought out does not make a thing true.

Posted by: jwgbones | February 8, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

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