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Groundhog Day: How Accurate is Punxsutawney Phil for Columbia?

The predictions of Punxsutawney Phil do not always come true.
Punxsutawney Phil is held by the handler as the prediction for six more weeks of winter is read during Groundhog day ceremonies on February 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Friday, everybody’s favorite weatherman (besides Jim Gandy of course) made his annual appearance. The Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary, aka Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow.

Phil emerged from his home at Gobbler’s Knob, a little clearing in the woods a few miles from the city center of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The President of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle proclaimed his prophecy of six more weeks of winter.

If you are just a tad suspicious of these claims, not to mention the credentials of a rodent, we found out just how accurate he really is.

Punxsutawney Phil started predicting the weather in 1886 – 16 years after the National Weather Service was founded. Only 121 of his predictions were recorded.

We compiled the average temperature in Columbia for the six weeks after Groundhog Day and found Punxsutawney’s accuracy has been 36% since 1950. Thirty four of the 54 years he predicted more winter we had above average temperatures following the big day.

We also learned something else: the average temperature is trending warmer and warmer every year.

Punxsutawney might be less accurate than the flip of a coin. However, no matter his prediction, if this pattern stays, we might experience more early springs.