“It’s not very often that Phil predicts an early spring, but the groundhog, my friends, predicted an early spring,” Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean said Sunday on “Fox & Friends” while in Miami for Super Bowl LIV.
Dean added that Phil “does not predict Spring very often” and Sunday’s prediction may be the 21st time in over 100 years the cuddly oracle has called for an early end to winter.
Over the past five years — from 2015 through 2019 — Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter thrice and an early spring twice. According to records dating back to 1887, the Pennsylvanian prognosticator has predicted more winter more than 100 times, making this year’s forecast a rare one overall.
This prediction was his 134th, according to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office.
“I don’t know that this has happened two years in a row. This is epic. This is historic right now,” Dean said on “Fox & Friends,” adding, “The groundhog has spoken and we are going to experience an early spring, everybody.”
Awoken by the crowd’s chants of “Phil!” the groundhog was hoisted in the air for the assembly to hail before making his decision. He then grasped the glove of a handler as a member of his inner circle announced that spring would come early this year.
The annual event has its origin in a German legend that says if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Feb. 2, winter continues. If not, spring comes early.
Phil’s track record has only been correct about 39 percent of the time, but the discrepancy in poor forecasting is apparently because his wording gets lost in translation, according to Dean.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information said that Phil’s 2019 forecast of a “short winter” was a bit of a bust as much of the U.S. saw average temperatures in February and March that were below average. Several states across the Southeast, however, saw of their warmest Februarys on record.
In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney. That’s about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
While Phil thinks warmer days are ahead, forecasters at AccuWeather are predicting “seasonable winter weather” in most places across the country over the next six weeks, with a stormy pattern coming to the Northeast that has seen a mostly mild winter.
Phil was not the only groundhog to predict an early spring. State Island Chuck left his burrow early Sunday morning and did not find his shadow, according to the Staten Island Advance.
Dean said that anything beyond a 7-day forecast is “sometimes a coin toss,” especially with predicting long-range winter weather.
The National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center said Sunday that one thing is certain this week, that a “very active weather pattern” is shaping up across most of the country.
Happy Groundhog Day! While we can't tell you whether Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow, what we can tell you is that a very active weather pattern is shaping up across much of the country this week. pic.twitter.com/DjT2SQOYOX
— NWS WPC (@NWSWPC) February 2, 2020
Fox News’ Janice Dean and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Author: Travis Fedschun