Ground Hog Day 2014, At 7:25 a.m. Sunday, a raw, cloudy and damp morning, Groundhog Phil saw his shadow in the small town of Punxsutawney, Pa.
The appearance of Phil’s shadow means winter will extend well into March according to folklore. Had Phil not seen his shadow, it would have meant spring is around the corner.
Phil’s prediction may depress residents in the eastern U.S., weary from repeated outbreaks of arctic air.
December and January temperature differences from normal across the U.S. Green, blue, and purple shades are cooler than normal. Yellow, orange, and red shades are warmer than normal. (High Plains Regional Climate Center)
Since the Groundhogs first prediction in 1887 (through 2013), Phil has seen his shadow 100 times and not seen it on just 17 occasions. There are nine missing years in the record, but Phil has issued a forecast without exception.
No one questions Phil’s dedication to prognostication, but his accuracy is an unending source of controversy.
Last Groundhog Day, Phil did not see his shadow, a supposed harbinger of an early spring. Yet, bitter cold and snow affected the eastern U.S. deep into March. The prosecuting attorney in Butler County, Ohio went as far as to seek the death penalty for Phil for “misrepresentation of early spring” before a Pennsylvania law firm came to Phil’s defense, claiming the Ohio attorney had no jurisdiction to prosecute the Groundhog.