WASHINGTON — Punxsutawney Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter for 2023, but just how accurate are his yearly forecasts?
The annual ceremony in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, dates back to 1887, according to the Library of Congress. But even with more than 100 years of "forecasting experience," Punxsutawney Phil certainly isn't perfect.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration compared Punxsutawney Phil’s forecast to the national weather the last 10 years and found “on average, Phil has gotten it right 40% of the time.” Going back all the way to his first prediction in 1887, he's been right only 39% of the time, according to an analysis from Stormfax Weather Almanac.
During the annual celebration, people gather at Gobbler’s Knob as members of Phil’s “inner circle” summon the groundhog from his tree stump at dawn to learn if he has seen his shadow.
According to folklore, if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, spring comes early.
How many times has Punxsutawney Phil seen his shadow?
Since 1887, Punxsutawney Phil's track record has leaned heavily toward six more weeks of winter.
In fact, arguably the world's most famous groundhog has predicted an early spring (by not seeing his shadow) just 20 times, according to the numbers announced by the Groundhog Day "Inner Circle."
Meanwhile, he's seen his shadow 109 times (including 2023), though there are 10 years where there's no record of what happened.
The last time Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow was in 2020, and before that in 2019, offering a back-to-back dose of his rare early spring prediction.
But after Thursday's prediction, Punxsutawney Phil has now predicted six more weeks of winter for three years in a row.
The Associated Press and WKYC's Ryan Haidet contributed to this report.