Speed Reads

groundhog day

Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog predicts six more weeks of winter

Friday is Groundhog Day, meaning the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, nudged its resident groundhog folk climatologist, Punxsutawney Phil, out of his burrow to determine if warm weather is nigh. According to tradition, if the groundhog sees his shadow, that means six more weeks of winter; if he does not, it means an early spring. This year, he "saw his shadow" — though in fact, Phil's handlers just had him pick a scroll, and to boos from the crowd, the groundhog picked the scroll that predicted six more weeks of winter.

Unless you're really into winter sports, though, don't worry too much — since 1988, Phil has been right 14 times and wrong 16 times time. Based on weather data, "there is no predictive skill for the groundhog during the most recent years of the analysis," NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information reminded everyone this week. Spoilsports.