Groundhog Day: How seeing shadows, or not, stacks up against history

Groundhogs are cute, but are they accurate weather forecasters?
February 2, 2016
This 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 did not see his shadow, thus raising hopes for an early spring.

How accurate are Phil's "predictions"?  In 2015, he forecast six more weeks of winter (he saw his shadow), but it wasn't meant to be. In fact, the contiguous United States saw only slightly below average temperatures last February. The western half of the Lower 48 was warmer than average, with eight states having a top 10 warm February. However, locations from the Mississippi River to the East Coast were colder than average, with 23 states having a top 10 coldest February.

As Phil surely knows, accurate forecasting is hard work. Take a look at how the groundhog has scored against the U.S. temperature record.