(NewsNation Now) — Happy Groundhog Day! The pressure is on for Punxsutawney Phil to predict the weather for the next six weeks.
The legend of the beloved rodent, who is thought to be more than 130 years old, is simple. If the groundhog sees his shadow, it signals six more weeks of winter. If Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t, winter will end sooner rather than later.
But after more than 130 years on the job, is Phil really accurate?
The first known record of Groundhog Day was in a local paper in 1886 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Since 1887, Phil has seen his shadow 105 times, indicating there is a long winter in store, according to the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Phil has predicted an early spring only 20 times and there is no record for 10 years.
NOAA compared Phil’s predictions from the last 10 years to the actual weather from that year and found that Phil was only right 40% of the time. The last year Phil’s prediction was right was in 2020, when he predicted an early spring.
Thousands of people gathered at Gobbler’s Knob as members of Punxsutawney Phil’s “inner circle” summoned him from his tree stump at dawn to learn if he had seen his shadow. After Phil’s prediction was announced, the crowd repeatedly chanted “six more weeks!”