“The groundhogs acted with considerable sagacity.”

The title for this post was taken from an article published in The Vincennes Weekly Western Sun newspaper on February 10, 1866. It seems that the groundhogs saw their shadow on February 2nd, 1866, and in the days that followed the weather turned “exceedingly cold”, proving the underground rodent to be a reliable prophet.

This year’s Groundhog Day has come and gone, and it looks like we will have six more weeks of winter on our hands before we can shed our coats and boots. But before we go shopping for more sweaters and thermal underwear, just how accurate is that ol’ groundhog?

According to the National Climate Data Center (NCDC), not very. The NCDC report breaks down the average temperature from 1988-2013 and whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow or not. This is a direct quote from the report: “The table shows no predictive skill for the groundhog during the most recent years of this analysis.” Well, so much for buying snow tires.

For the full report on Groundhog Day predictions, click here.

For the history of Groundhog Day, click here.

And for more historical newspaper articles on a range of topics, click here.




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