Groundhog Phil was up early this morning for February 2 is an important day for him. The entire country was waiting for him to deliver his Groundhog Day 2012 forecasts at 7:25 a.m., according to Washington Post. Despite the recent mild temperatures, Phil saw his shadow which means that America should expect six more weeks of winter.
Great part of the United States have had mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 30s this winter, but groundhog Punxsutawney Phil claims the spring is still far away. When he first emerged from the ground this morning in Pennsylvania, the weather was sunny, so Phil was able to see his shadow. According to the folklore, this means that the winter will last for six more weeks. Had Phil not seen his shadow, it would have meant that spring will soon make its presence felt.
It may seem hard to give credit to such an old tradition, but the organizers of the event claim that Phil is very accurate. Since his first prediction in 1887, Phil has seen his shadow 99 times and only failed to spot it 16 times.
The official website of Punxsutawney Phil reassures people that the groundhog is always right. The other sources, on the other hand, told the press that Phil is prone to make mistakes once in a while. Even so, his accuracy is quite respectable. There are those who think the Groundhog Day is a beautiful and interesting tradition, but they do not trust Phil’s forecasts. NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, for instance, issued the harshest assessment against Phil saying that it is not scientifically correct to entrust a groundhog with such a responsibility.
Accuracy or not, Phil’s forecasts for 2012 took meteorologists by surprise as they were expecting the warm season to start earlier. Their belief was grounded on the mild weather pattern that was noticed around great part of the country. In fact, the central and the eastern U.S. territories have seen temperatures that were 20 to 30 degrees above normal in recent days. Given these circumstances, it would be a dramatic change if the cold winter weather came back as Phil said it would.