Punxsutawney Phil emerged at 7:28 a.m. ET on February 2, 2014 to the cheers of thousands of fans waiting to hear his prediction of Spring at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa.
According to tradition, if Phil sees his shadow, winter will last six more weeks. If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring will come early.
Phil was brought to the podium by a group of local dignitaries known as the Inner Circle, all men clad in top hats and old-fashioned black frock coats.
Today was the 128th time Punxsutawney Phil had made his prediction.
Inner Circle President, Bill Deeley announced:
“A Super Bowl winner I will not predict,
but my weather forecast you cannot contradict.
Why that’s not a football but my shadow I see,
It’s six more weeks of winter it must be!”
While no one questions Phil’s dedication to prognostication, it’s his accuracy that is an unending source of controversy.
Groundhog Day official web site says Punxsutawney Phil has issued a correct forecast 100 percent of the time. But NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center says Phil’s forecasts have shown “no predictive skill” in recent years. AccuWeather finds the groundhog has an 80 percent accuracy rate.
It’s not just the weather prediction that has others upset. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says the handling of Punxsutawney Phil is inhumane, as the animal is not able to hibernate for the winter. The group has asked that Phil be retired.
“We think that using a cyber shadow-detector is a great alternative to yanking a frightened groundhog out of a fake burrow every February and waving him around in front of a boisterous crowd as cameras flash in his eyes,” PETA noted. “Groundhogs avoid human contact and spend their days digging and burrowing. In February, they should be midway through their winter hibernation, not dodging the paparazzi.”
In response to PETA’s challenge, Pennsylvania’s Lafayette College created a robot that can detect shadows.
Groundhog Day 2014: Punxsutawney Phil Sees Shadow
Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his lair and saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of frosty winter weather.