Punxsutawney Phil Better Be Right or He's Groundhog Meat

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Punxsutawney Phil, we need you! The weather outside is a frightful mess: ice storms in the Midwest, snowstorms in the Northeast. There are more snow days than actual classes happening across the country today. But the question on everyone's lips is this: Did the groundhog see his shadow in 2011?

The answer: he did not!

February 2 is Groundhog Day. If the groundhog sees his shadow, he is scared and runs back into his burrow. This means more winter. If not, he tentatively comes out and this means spring is near. Hey, don't laugh. They have been doing this for more than 100 years in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, home to the most famous groundhog weatherman.

And this year, I am with the groundhog.

According to Phil (who's said to be just as accurate as the local weatherman), winter will end very soon, indeed. But do we believe him?

If you believe the inner circles at Gobbler's Knob -- the place where 40,000 people gather to see Phil -- then he is always right. Storm Fax says that number is more like 39 percent. This year, let's assume he is correct.

The holiday coincides with Candlemas Day, a Catholic holiday that is similar to Groundhog Day. The legend is told, “For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day so far will the snow swirl in May."

Those clouds outside mean an early spring (yeah right). Although all of your senses may be screaming, UM, NOPE! The slush, ice, and snow outside your window are an illusion. Soon we will be tripping over tulips and rejoicing in the sun. Right, Phil? We are counting on you!

Winter 2011 has been a brutal one thus far and it's only February 2. Living in New England, it's hard for me to put much stock in the sight of a rodent in terms of weather predictions, but better him than the guy on Channel 5 telling me we have six more snowstorms coming next week.

The good news, of course, is that spring will "arrive" March 21 whether he saw his shadow or not. The bad news ... well, let's not talk about that.

Let's just hope that Phil's 39 percent accuracy rate applies to 2011. Stranger things have happened. After all, this year, the weathermen have managed to successfully predict all five major snowstorms. If they can do it, so can Phil!

Do you think Phil is right?


Image via alemaxale/Flickr

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