Groundhog Day: are Phil's and Poppy's forecasts fact or fiction?

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Groundhog Day is classic holiday adapted by the U.S. when German immigrants brought their traditions over during the 18th and 19th centuries, but is their outlook over the next six weeks legitimate?

Unfortunately, the track record of the famous "Punxsutawney Phil" is less than 50% accurate. 

While groundhogs like Phil and more locally, Potawatomi Poppy, are adorable mascots for one of the most unique ceremonies in our country, they are not the greatest forecasters in the world. 

According to an estimation by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), Phil is only 40% accurate over a 10-year period from 2009-2019 based on subsequent above/below average temperatures over the next six weeks that followed the holiday.

Still, every so often the groundhogs are on the right track, and that seems to be the case this year. 

Because Potawatomi Poppy did not see her shadow, Spring will supposedly come earlier.

The extended range outlooks that are currently valid through the first half of February carry a strong signal for above-average temperatures and a weaker (but still present) signal for above-average precipitation. 

As temperatures continue to sit more than 10F above average over the next several days, Poppy may be on to something with her forecast.

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