WeatherWeather Blog


Groundhog Day

Different forecasts
Posted at 1:33 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 14:33:54-05

As ridiculous as it is to look to a cute little marmot for your weather forecast, here we are doing it again on Groundhog Day. It’s almost like it’s a silly cycle we can’t escape...hmm...

Anyway, let’s take a look at what some of these rodents are predicting!

Out east in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the nation’s good pal, Punxsutawney Phil, emerged early this morning and... saw his shadow! According to the Groundhog Day legend, it means we can expect six more weeks of winter.

Punxsutawney Phil.jpg
An image of Punxsutawney Phil from 2020.

On the flip side, and closer to home, in Unadilla, Nebraska our own local celebrity groundhog has a different forecast. Unadilla Bill did NOT see his shadow, so he is predicting an early spring. (As an aside, Bill is retiring now and his apprentice, Billie, will take over the tough forecasting job next year. We wish Bill the best in his retirement!)

Unadilla Bill (and Billie) featured on the "Unadilla Bill - Groundhog Celebration" Facebook page.

So, what do we do with this information? Well, not a whole lot, really. It’s fun to look at and the celebrations are often enjoyed across the country, but as for Punxsutawney Phil’s track record? He’s not exactly the most reliable forecaster. Over the last 10 years, he’s gotten it right about 50 percent of the time when comparing his forecast to the national temperature average.

Punxsutawney Phil's record since 2010.

We’ve got quite the temperature drop heading our way by this weekend, so maybe our friend Bill is suggesting an early spring after this weekend? Who knows! Either way, spring officially begins on Saturday, March 20th. Tomorrow’s blog post will have more about the cold air arriving in a few days.

And, as always, I recommend getting your forecasts from trusted sources (i.e., an actual human meteorologist or forecaster).