How Accurate is the Groundhog?

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By Quincy Vagell on February 5, 2013, 2:20pm Last modified: February 5, 2013, 5:38pm

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February 2nd is known as Groundhog Day, the date in which groundhogs across the world, including Punxsutawney Phil, pictured above, are looked to for weather forecasts.

The belief is that if the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six weeks left of winter. If the shadow is not seen, an early spring is on the way.

This year, Punxsutawney did not see his shadow. Can we really expect an early spring?

Looking back at history, the "lovable" groundhog from Pennsylvania has not had such a great track record. The National Climatic Data Center conducted a study and found that the groundhog was only right 39% of the time. Another study out of Canada said that number was only 37%. Considering the critter has a 50/50 chance of being correct, one might expect better accuracy.

What about last year?
Well, winter was virtually non-existent for the Northeast in early 2012, but Punxsutawney saw his shadow last year. It could be argued that winter never came, as the year 2012 started off with record warmth.

There are other groundhogs though. Connecticut's cute critter, Chuckles doesn't agree with Punxsutawney. She thinks winter is sticking around this year. With a potential winter storm in the forecast for Friday, might she be correct? We'll have to wait and see.

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Quincy Vagell

Town: Marlborough, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since January 2012.

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