In a tradition that dates back to 1887, Groundhog Day predicts whether we'll ditch the puffy coats or keep bundled, praying for some springtime sunshine. And this week, prepare for Groundhog Day 2018 (if one can prepare for such a day).
The man for the job is none other than Punxsutawney Phil from (you guessed it) Punxsutawney, PA. And if he sees his shadow, we’re stuck with six more weeks of winter and below-average temperatures — though, with the weather patterns we’ve seen, that doesn’t guarantee a consistent bitter cold.
If Phil comes out of hibernation and does not see his shadow, hello early spring!
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But are his predictions really that spot-on? According to Live Science, our friend Phil (or, rather, the various incarnations of Phil taken care of by The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club) isn’t very accurate: he's only gotten his predictions right about 39 percent of the time.
And, as Live Science states, from 1969 on, Phil's "overall accuracy rate" drops to about 36 percent, according to Weather Underground meteorologist Time Roche.
Even if Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow and predicts an early spring, "climate records and statistics tell us that winter probably isn't over," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated.
Last year, he saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter (which you can watch here). The prediction, reports Weather.com, was ultimately followed by the "second-warmest February on record in the Lower 48 states, the ninth-warmest March and the 11th-warmest April."
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, refutes this, claiming that he's correct "100% of the time, of course!" (They also argue that there's only been one Phil this whole time. He's immortal, you see.)
Read more about Punxsutawney Phil and what happens if he sees his shadow, on Metro.
So when is Groundhog Day 2018?
Groundhog Day 2018 is this coming Friday, Feb. 2.
According to Accuweather, it may be snowing this year. The site reports that 83 percent of Groundhog Days see no more than flurries, and it's only ever reached a record high of 3 inches in 1985.
Phil’s been doing this forever though — so on Groundhog Day 2018 he’ll be just fine.