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Seeing shadows or not: How the groundhog scores against the climate record

What is the likelihood of 6 more weeks of winter?
February 2, 2018
This curious groundhog isn't Punxsutawney Phil, but he (or she) sure is cute.

In Gobbler's Knob, Pennsylvania, at the crack of dawn today, the nation's most famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadowoffsite link and, as the legend has it, six more weeks of winter.

How accurate was Phil's 2017 prediction?

In 2017, he also saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. He missed his mark, though: The contiguous United States saw above average temperatures in both February and March of last year.

In February 2017, most locations across the Lower 48 were warmer than average. Thirty-nine states from the Rockies to the East Coast were much warmer than average, with 16 states being record warm. Despite below- to near-average temperatures in the Northwest, no state ranked as record cold. Overall, it was the second warmest February on record.

Last March, most of the West, Great Plains, and parts of the Midwest and Southeast were warmer than average. Thirteen states were much warmer than average, with Colorado and New Mexico being record warm. Overall, it ranked as the ninth warmest March on record.

As Phil surely knows, accurate forecasting is hard work. Take a look at how the groundhog has scored against the U.S. temperature record (and download our infographic), courtesy of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information