It’s Groundhog Day, a day when otherwise reasonable Americans eschew advanced meteorology and put their faith in a seasonal weather forecast determined by a fur-covered mammal in a small Pennsylvania town.
And shortly after dawn on Tuesday, the handlers of Punxsutawney Phil said the world’s most famous groundhog failed to see his shadow, meaning he “predicts” an early spring — and not the “six more weeks of winter” that many dread.
Punxsutawney Phil usually predicts a longer winter. Since 1887, the groundhog has seen his shadow 102 times and not seen it just 18 times. (You know what they say: It’s always sunny in Punxsutawney!)
So just how accurate are Punxsutawney Phil’s forecasts? Well, not very.
According to the USA Today, which has tracked his “predictions” since 1988, the groundhog has been “right” 13 times and “wrong” 15 times, for an accuracy rate of 46 percent.
Overall, Phil’s prognostications have been correct only 39 percent of the time, according to the Stormfax Almanac.
So if you can’t trust Phil, who can you trust?
Certainly not Raleigh, N.C.’s groundhog, Sir Walter Wally, whose prediction has been wrong seven out of the past 10 years.
You could go with Ohio’s official weather-predicting whistle pig, Buckeye Chuck, who says we’re in for six more weeks of winter. (According to his official Facebook page, the Ohio pig’s predictions have been right 75 percent of the time.)
Even better: Staten Island Chuck, whose accuracy rate — 80 percent — crushes those of Wally and Phil.
On Tuesday, the New York groundhog (real name: Charles G. Hogg) also predicted an early spring.
For those of you in the Midwest hunkered down in a blizzard and dreaming of spring, Staten Island Chuck is probably your best bet.