Groundhog Forecasters versus the U.S. Temperature Record

Cartoon Image of Groundhog

Every February 2, crowds gather across the United States to find out if a particular groundhog saw his shadow—but how often do these furry “forecasters” actually get it right? NCDC has compared the U.S. national temperatures from 1988 to 2012 to determine just how accurate some of these groundhogs are. Punxsutawney Phil, from Pennsylvania, is the star of the show on Groundhog Day, predicting the arrival of spring for the entire United States. However, NCDC’s analysis shows that Phil’s forecasts are, on average, inaccurate. The groundhog has shown no talent for predicting the arrival of spring, especially in recent years. Phil’s competitor groundhogs across the Nation fared no better.

Read the full Groundhog Day special report at

Interested in doing your own analysis? More complete data are available, on Phil's Historical Predictions and the NCDC Historical Monthly Temperature Data on the Climate at a Glance webpage.