Groundhog day 2016: is Phil right?

Oh boy! Phil is not that good.. but we still love him!
Oh boy! Phil is not that good.. but we still love him!

Who is Punxsutawney Phil? Well, he doesn't need any introduction: he is the coolest groundhog around (there are other competitors but he seems to be the most popular). Every year hundreds of people gather around this cute groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to hear what he has to say about the coming spring: is it going to be warm or cold?

Forget the satellites, the complex mathematical models or the overly excited tv-weather-forecasters. Phil knows better! But is it true?

So we plotted Phil's predictions (warm/cold spring) versus March's actual temperature (data from this National centers for environmental information table). It looks like Phil was right only ~40% of the times (similar data are reported on Here is the link to a larger version of the plot above.

Isn't march a short time period for benchmarking Phil's prediction? What does warm (or slightly warm) mean after all? What are the Geo data relative to the prediction? Wouldn't be more fair to predict the actual temperature (Celsius, Fahrenheit) rather than the subjective temperature?

Whoa!! Hold your horses! we're talking about a freaking groundhog here!

No matter what Phil says (right or wrong), we will always love him (and his happy family).

Ok, that's enough groundhogs for today, now go check the interesting talks, seminars and conferences are happening right now in Toronto!