Groundhog day is Tomorrow, but how accurate is it really?

Meteorologist Kevin Arnone

Over the weekend I wrote an article on how accurate the Groundhog really is. I wanted to give an update on the forecast below. If you read the article from over the weekend, just skip to the section under “What about this year”.

February 2nd is known as Groundhog Day, the date in which groundhogs across the world, including the most famous one, Punxsutawney Phil are looked to for weather forecasts.

The belief is that if the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six weeks left of winter. If the shadow is not seen, an early spring is on the way.

Looking back at history, the groundhog from Pennsylvania has not had such a great track record. The National Climatic Data Center conducted a study and found that the groundhog was only right 39% of the time. Considering the critter has a 50/50 chance of being correct, one might expect better accuracy.

Over the years, Phil has seen his shadow nearly 87% of the time, so the odds are for six more weeks of winter.

What about last year?
Well, winter was virtually non-existent for the Northeast in 2015/2016, Punxsutawney did not see his shadow last year and he was right on! February and March finished above normal

What about this year?

Below is one of our forecast models. This is the GFS, the graphic below shows the chance for cloud cover. It’s looking like there’s a pretty good chance at cloud cover across Punxsutawney, PA which is located in the western half of the state. Can’t rule out a few snow showers too!

If this is the case tomorrow morning, Phil won’t see his shadow and spring comes 6 weeks earlier!

gfs total cloud pennsylvania 7 Groundhog day is Tomorrow, but how accurate is it really?

What’s our forecast?

Well, of course let’s wait until tomorrow morning for Phil’s official forecast, but all indications are that winter actually gets a little more active in February, especially in the northeast!

Below is a look at the climate prediction center forecast for temperatures in the month of February. The jet stream is forecast to take a dive towards the south and allow colder air from Canada to usher into New England through the weekend. Nothing too extreme, but temperatures at or below normal Thursday-Sunday

But will the cold last? Early next week, some 50s are expected but there also are some indications at some snow late in the week! However, some of our longer range models like the EURO EPS and CFS indicate February to be a little more active than what we saw in January but average daily temperatures to actually be around or even a little above normal. As always, follow me on Facebook or Twitter and let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading!

Meteorologist Kevin Arnone

off15 temp Groundhog day is Tomorrow, but how accurate is it really?

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