Punxsutawney Phil Sees His Shadow, But How Accurate Is The Groundhog In Arkansas?

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, and that means six more weeks of winter.

Everyone gets fact-checked these days except one guy... Punxsutawney Phil. The Groundhog has been around for over one hundred years, and year after year, he gives a 6-week forecast:  Will spring come early, or will winter hold on for a bit longer?

The 5NEWS Weather Team did a lot of number crunching this week to find out how accurate the groundhog is specifically for Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.  We looked at the past 50 years and evaluated his prediction with what we actually saw in terms of high temperatures and snowfall.

HIGH TEMPERATURES:  We took each day from Feb 2nd through March 20th from 1968 to 2017 and compared each day with the average temperature.  After summing up each departure, we gave a rating to the 6-week period (WARMER than normal, or COLDER than normal).

SNOWFALL:  On average, for the month of February, we should get about 2 inches of snow, and nothing in March. We summed up how much snow we received from Feb 2nd through March 20th. If this was below or above 2 inches, we gave a rating to the 6-week period (COLDER than normal, or WARMER than normal, respectively).


RESULTS:

Temperature:  Looking at highs alone, Phil is accurate 54% of the time. Not too bad!

Snowfall:  Looking at snowfall alone, Phil is accurate 48%.  Still, not too bad!*

Together:  When you combine all the years where he was accurate about both the temperatures and snowfall, he's accuracy rate drops to 34%.

*NOTICE:  We can have warmer than normal winters with more snowfall... Just depends on how our winter storms set up!

It's probably best to stick with the 5NEWS Weather Team for more accurate information!

-Matt