How Accurate is the Groundhog at Predicting Winter?
Every year on the 2nd day of February, a rodent named Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his hibernation, looks around and tells the public whether or not we’ll see six more weeks of winter or not.
If you’re still reading past this point, just know that we will be a little more scientific in our forecasting than looking for a shadow. But since 1887, Groundhog Day has been the unofficial day of forecasting the rest of winter. The old tale says that if Phil sees his shadow, then we’re in for six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, then we should expect an early spring.
With Phil having quite a bit of experience, he ought to be pretty accurate by now right? WRONG. According to data, Phil’s accuracy rate is said to be at 39 percent. In the past he’s predicted more winter 103 times, and an early spring just 19 times.
Like we said earlier in this article, we will be a little bit more scientific in our forecast. When trying to make long term forecasts, Meteorologists look at things such as El Nino/La Nina, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Arctic Oscillation and the Madden-Julian Oscillation. All of these large scale weather phenomena have effects on the weather that we see here in East Texas.
The bottom-line; it looks like we’ll see some milder temperatures the next few months. The long range outlook from the Climate Prediction Center shows that all of Texas has a pretty good chance to see above normal temperatures through the months of February, March and April. It’s however worth mentioning that local climate will of course have a large role in the weather that we see around here, so we can expect to see a cool day here and there. February is normally the time of the year that we see some of the coldest temperatures around.
Spring officially begins on Thursday March 19th.