The famous groundhog in Pa. signals six more weeks in winter

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By: Charles Roop | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 2, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With the “Inner Circle” staring and a crowd of people eagerly cheering, Punxsutawney Phil made his annual exit from his home and saw his shadow Friday morning.

The legend has it that seeing his shadow means six more weeks of winter. But before winter haters moan, groan, and begin a pitchfork march to Punxsutawney, Pa. it may be wise to check his record.

Since 2010, the famous groundhog has been accurate only twice according to NOAA’s record keeping (2014 and 2016). That would leave the marmot with a 25 percent accuracy rate.

This meteorologist did a complete story in 2017 on the history and accuracy of Phil.

Many other meteorologists chimed in on social about the groundhog.

On that note, what do the scientific-degreed homo sapiens think? The Climate Prediction Center has the next three months (February, March and April) with a 40 percent chance of above-average temperatures in the Big Bend and South Georgia. For Punxsutawney Phil’s home, the CPC is calling for equal chances of above, below, or average temperatures for the same period.

We are currently under La Niña conditions, which normally leaves us drier and slightly warmer. The warmer part hasn’t materialized in January as we had 16 days of at or below freezing temperatures in Tallahassee, but the CPC says long-range guidance and current signals hint at a chance of warmer-than-normal temperatures for the next three months.

Help is on the way for those tired of donning giant, marshmallow coats, and wearing gloves that restrict the use of smartphones. If anything, the movement of the calendar is in our favor.