How Accurate Are The Groundhogs At Predicting The Weather?

Early spring?

February 2nd is groundhog day and Legend has it that if the large rodent sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter weather are ahead. If not, spring will arrive early.

The animal prognosticator has been at it since the 1880s. But how accurate is the groundhog once ripped from their sleep! 

Records kept by the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club show Phil has predicted 108 continued winters and only 20 early springs as of 2024.  According to the Stormfax Almanac, that works out to a 39% accuracy rate for Phil.

A little closer to home, those in Ontario are awaiting Wiarton Willie to let us know if an early spring is coming…

Wiarton Willie, an albino groundhog, is expected to make his prediction about whether there will be an early spring or six more weeks of winter at 8:07 a.m. ET. To give the prediction, Willie is brought out of his habitat and he tells a local official whether he sees his shadow.

If Willie sees his shadow, it’s six more weeks of winter. No shadow means an early spring.  The Groundhog Day tradition in Wiarton dates back to 1956.

Other weather prognosticating animals

Punxsutawney Phil is perhaps the world’s best known groundhog. He’s been predicting the weather the longest and his life was the basis for the movie Groundhog Day staring Bill Murray.

In Canada, there are other weather prognosticating animals besides Willie including:

  • Shubenacadie Sam who lives in Shubenacadie Wildlife Park in Nova Scotia.
  • Lucy the Lobster who lives in Barrington, N.S.
  • Fred la Marmotte in Val-d’Espoir, Que. Fred died last year, but a NEW Fred is expected to make a prediction this year.

There was also Winnipeg Wyn, but she died in 2020.

Other “groundhogs” that also offer predictions include Manitoba Merv (a puppet/golf club cover) and Balzac Billy (a person in a groundhog mascot costume).