Groundhog Day & February Outlook

Groundhog Day Shadow

Today is Groundhog Day; so that means Punxsutawney Phil will make his yearly prediction of how long winter will stick around. He predicts for 2023 to have 6 more weeks of winter, due to his shadow being seen.

Punxsutawney Phil

The origins of Groundhog Day began in Europe; where a badger was used by the Germans to predict the 2nd half of the winter. The tradition was carried over to America; where German settlers in Pennsylvania substituted the badger for a groundhog. The 1st Groundhog’s Day took place in 1887; where Phil saw his shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of winter.

Groundhog Cousins

While Phil is the most famous of the groundhogs; he does have other groundhog cousins across the country that make predictions and do not agree with what he says. Some of his cousins include the newly retired Sir Walter Wally in North Carolina, Gen. Beauregard Lee in Georgia, Patty Pagoda in Reading, Pennsylvania, Chesapeake Chuck in Virginia & Pierre Shadeaux in Louisiana. Pierre Shadeaux plays by a different set of rules, as he is a nutria; where his shadow seen means shorter spring plus a longer & hotter summer, while no shadow means a longer spring & shorter summer.

Groundhog2023 Infographic

Courtesy: NOAA

Punxsutawney Phil overall has a mediocre accuracy rate when predicting the final weeks of winter; at 39% over 126 years of predictions. These include Phil seeing his shadow 106 times, meaning more winter; while only 20 times not seeing his shadow, meaning an early spring. There is also 10 times, where no records were kept of his predictions. Just in the last decade; he has been right only 40% of the time, last happening in 2020.


The Climate Prediction Center is predicting the opposite of what Phil says for the remainder of winter; especially for the Eastern United States. They are forecasting a high probability of above average temperatures throughout February; which is also set to continue into March & April when applying the 3 month outlook. This all follows from an unseasonably warm January; where Salisbury had its 4th warmest on record. The Western United States favors Phil’s forecast; as the CPC predicts below average temperatures trending for February, and a focus of cooler weather over the Pacific Northwest when including March & April.

February Temp Cpc

Courtesy: NOAA

3 Month Cpc Temp

Courtesy: NOAA

Remember that Phil & his cousins are rodents and not meteorologists; so make sure to stay tuned over the next few months to see if they got it right.

Groundhog Day

Categories: Weather Blog