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An Early Spring? Punxsutawney Phil Didn't See His Shadow!

Feb 3, 2020

English Level: Advanced Beginner/Intermediate

Yesterday, February 2, 2020, was not only Super Bowl Sunday (Super Bowl LIV), but also Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day isn't just a 1993 movie starring Bill Murray about a man who is stuck in time repeating the same day over and over again. It's a North American tradition to observe whether or not a groundhog that emerges from its burrow after hibernating through the winter will see its shadow. Legend says that if the groundhog sees its shadow, it'll be scared and go back into its burrow, signaling 6 more weeks of winter. If, however, the groundhog does not see its shadow, it means there will be an early spring.

This year, the most famous groundhog in America, Punxsutawney Phil (from the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania) didn't see his shadow! Does this really mean there will be an early spring? Well... not exactly. Phil has a terrible track record when it comes to predicting the weather. His forecast of 6 more weeks of winter or an early spring only has about a 39% accuracy rate. Still, this "holiday" is a fun tradition that many Americans recognize. 

It'll be best to stick to traditional meteorological weather forecasts... but even they aren't always accurate! Perhaps, in the future, we'll be able to accurately predict the weather 100% of the time, but until then, we may actually be better off just flipping a coin. 

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