Punxsutawney Phil & Sir Walter Wally predict early spring. But how accurate are they?

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) –  Sir Walter Wally emerged from his burrow in Raleigh at noon Tuesday and did not see his shadow. According to tradition, that means an early spring. Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, another famous groundhog made his appearance.

”Ladies and gentleman, Punxsutawney Phil,” exclaimed Jeff Lundy, vice president of the Inner Circle of The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

The country’s most lovable groundhog made his annual appearance around 7:25 Tuesday morning. According to legend, if furry Phil sees his shadow the morning of February 2nd, he rushes back to his burrow and we’re in for 6 more weeks of winter. But not this year.

”There is no shadow to be cast, an early spring is my forecast,” said Lundy on behalf of Phil.

This marks just the 18th time since 1887 that Phil hasn’t seen his shadow. But beyond the fun and the revelry, Groundhog Day actually has roots as a German superstition. If a hibernating animal casts a shadow on the February 2nd Christian holiday of Candlemas, there will be 6 more weeks of winter. It’s also the first cross-quarter day of the year, the midpoint between an equinox and solstice.

But how accurate can an animal be predicting the weather? Not very, flipping a coin would give you better results. Since 1988, Phil has been right just 43% of the time. Sir Walter Wally has been right just 50% of the time since starting his predictions in 1998. To contrast, the Climate Prediction Center, which puts out 1 month and 3 month temperature and precipitation outlooks, is accurate about 73% of the time according to a 2014 study.

In case you’re wondering, they expect the northern part of the country to be warmer than average and the South to be cooler than average through the month of February.it’s bad luck to leave your christmas decorations up after groundhog day…so if you’re guilty…you better get out there quick and take them down.

One final note, it’s bad luck to leave your Christmas decorations up after Groundhog Day.

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