How accurate are Punxsutawney Phil’s Groundhog Day predictions?


Groundhog Day is a tradition that started back in the 1880s. Since then, there have been several furry prognosticators across the country using the same formula of if the animal sees its shadow and retreats back, then we need to brace for 6 more weeks of wintry weather, but no shadow gives hope to an early spring.

Between 1887-2019, there has been some good record keeping of Phil’s predictions. There have only been 10 years without a recorded prediction, 104 years where Phil has predicted more winter, and only 19 times where he predicted an early spring warmup.

You might have noticed that there seems to be more of a bias toward 6 more weeks of winter. 133 years of data, show that Phil has seen his shadow and went back into hiding nearly 80% of the time.

So, how accurate are these predictions? Since 1887, STORMFAX showed that Phil had an accurate long range forecast only about 39% of the time. According to NOAA, Phil’s accuracy over the last 10 years is looking better at 50%.

Just looking ahead to the next two weeks, it looks like Phil’s prediction might be right. Over the next 14 days, we are in a pattern that will support below normal temperatures.

Along with below normal temperatures, most of Central Ohio will see an equal chance for above or below normal precipitation, with a better chance for above normal amounts farther west.

Climate Central researched and found that despite Phil’s predictions usually leaning toward more wintry weather, the six weeks after Groundhog Day are warming up in 93% of the 244 cities analyzed, including Columbus, OH.

Remember, you can stay up to date with the latest and most accurate forecast for Central Ohio by downloading the NBC4 mobile weather app or checking out

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