Published: 2007-02-04 12:51:15
Updated: 2007-02-04 12:51:15
Posted February 4, 2007 12:51 p.m. EST
By CindyMIKE MOSS SAYS: Cindy, Any number of informal "studies" have been done by newspapers, magazines and the like, and they usually cite a "success" rate for Punxsutawney Phil of anywhere from about 25 to 40 percent. However, I'm not aware of any more serious studies, probably because there is no reason to expect a meaningful relationship between the presence or absence of a shadow at a particular moment on the morning of Feb 2nd and the weather that will follow over a 4-6 week period. In fact, it seems a little odd that the numbers above aren't closer to 50%, which I suspect has to do with exactly how you define "six more weeks of winter" or "early spring," and then how you decide to interpret what are often significant swings toward above normal and below normal temperatures during the course of the weeks following the groundhog's emergence. I've also read somewhere that there is a committee that votes the day before as to whether Phil will "see his shadow" or not, although I'm not sure if it's always been done that way.