Editorial: Groundhog falsely predicts weather, gets away with it

Editorial:  Groundhog falsely predicts weather, gets away with it

By Anthony Quintano [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Editorial Board

Groundhog day is a mere observance in America, with very few states celebrating it at all. Punxsutawney Phil, a common name to some and a foreign name to many, is one of the most famous animals of the Pennsylvania area. Every year this groundhog comes out of the ground and basically determines what the weather is going to be in the near future on the second of February. Mystical, right?

The story goes that if the groundhog, Phil, sees his shadow, then there will be six more weeks of winter, and if he doesn’t then spring is on its way. This weird holiday has been around since 1887 with a movie of its same namesake being around since 1993.

It’s a little crazy that humans listen to a groundhog. A lot of people don’t take it seriously, so why is it a holiday? Though it is tradition, it should not be on any calendars due to its unimportance and unreliability.

Hundreds of people every year go to Punxsutawney to see this groundhog crawl out of its home to decide whether there will be six more weeks of winter. While it may be a tradition around the Pennsylvania, it is unnecessary since nobody except children accept Phil’s predictions as truth. At this point, it is more accurate to predict the weather by flipping a coin instead of listening to a groundhog.

Groundhog Day is not a federal holiday. It is only celebrated in some towns and cities. The biggest celebrations of this holiday happen in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Although more people across America recognize Groundhog Day as being a popular movie in comparison to it actually being a holiday.

The chances of Phil seeing his shadow all depend on the weather of that day. Obviously there is no science behind how he makes his predictions for the coming weeks, and his decisions more so rely on how the weather is that day to determine if he sees his shadow or not.

If Phil comes out of his home before sunrise, then he obviously will not see his shadow. If he comes out when the sun is rising, then he will most likely see his shadow.

Phil has been wrong with the weather 15 times since 1988. This proves why people shouldn’t always count on this popular groundhog. No matter if he is right or wrong, tourists annually travel to Punxsutawney to see the groundhog. The organizers of this event claims that he is accurate 75-90% of the time, but according to meteorologist Tim Roche Punxsutawney Phil is right 39% of the time.