Battle of the Weather-predicting Rodents

February 8, 2024

Each year on February 2nd, thousands of people gather to watch rodents from around the country emerge from their sleep and offer a weather prediction.

The most well-known is a groundhog from Pennsylvania named Punxsutawney Phil, who is claimed to have been making predictions since 1886, despite the lifespan of a wild groundhog being roughly six years. Regardless, on the morning of February 2nd, Phil emerges from Gobbler’s Knob and whispers to the president of the groundhog club in Groundhogese if he sees his shadow and predicts six more weeks of winter or if he doesn’t see his shadow and predicts an early spring.

This year, Phil did not see his shadow and suggests we will see an early spring. But, in the last decade, he has only been right 30% of the time.

Another, less-famous, weather-predicting groundhog is Buckeye Chuck, who resides in Marion, Ohio. Chuck has been offering his own predictions since 1979. In the last 10 years, he was correct 40% of the time.

While the majority of all the weather-predicting rodents in the United States and Canada are predicting an early spring, a few are predicting six more weeks of winter, like Woody the Woodchuck in Michigan. Woody has been prognosticating since 1999. Unlike the shadow technique used by most groundhogs, Woody’s forecast is determined by the amount of time she spends outside on a ceremonial tree stump: 30 seconds or longer means an early spring, any less means six more weeks of winter. Woody has been correct 30% of the time in the last decade.

There is also Staten Island Chuck. He has been predicting the weather since 1981 and has an 80% all-time accuracy rate! Chuck has been correct the last FOURTEEN YEARS straight! He is predicting an early spring this year, let’s see if his streak continues.

Which of the weather-predicting rodents will be correct this year? Check back in a few weeks to find out!

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