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Groundhog Day 2023: Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow

Rob Tornoe, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

PHILADELPHIA — Temperatures are forecast to plunge across the Philadelphia region over the next few days, and Punxsutawney Phil expects more of the same for the next six weeks.

The nation's most popular marmot saw his shadow Thursday morning after leaving his burrow at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney. That means the country can expect below-average temperatures for the next six weeks, if you subscribe to the legend of Phil's weather-predicting abilities.

Tens of thousands of groundhog enthusiasts gathered in the small Western Pennsylvania town in the early morning hours to watch the annual ceremony, hosted by the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Among those on hand to take in the festivities was newly-elected Gov. Josh Shapiro.

How accurate has Punxsutawney Phil been over the years?

Last year, Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter by seeing his shadow. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration didn't weigh in on the forecast's accuracy, but according to an analysis of weather data by The Inquirer, the contiguous United States saw slightly above-average temperatures in February and early March, meaning Phil missed the mark.

Philadelphia actually experienced temperatures way above normal last year after Phil saw his shadow — average temperatures were up 3.8 degrees in February and 4.2 degrees in March.


Incorporating data from NOAA, that would mean Phil has been accurate just 40% of the time over the past 10 years, nailing his predictions in 2020, 2016, 2014, and 2013.

Since 1887, Phil and his predecessors have predicted more winter 105 times and called for 20 early springs, according to Stormfax Almanac (no records exist for nine years). Live Science did an analysis of the data last year and concluded Phil's six-week predictions have been correct just 39% of the time.

What about rival groundhogs in Staten Island and across the U.S.?

While Phil gets nearly all the attention each year, media outlets in New York continue to promote competing forecasts from their own meteorological marmot, Staten Island Chuck.


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