Tomorrow is a big day for lovers of groundhog-related holidays and weather lovers. As he does each year on the date, the legendary Punxsutawney Phil will emerge from his temporary home in Gobbler’s Knob just outside of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2. His presence will give us some big news. If the furry weather predictor sees his shadow, we are in for six more weeks of winter weather. However, if Punxsutawney Phil emerges shadowless, that means springtime is right around the corner. Some believe these unique predictions. Others think this annual event tells us information that is simply folklore. And, Wheel of Fortune’s Pat Sajak has his own take on Groundhog Day as he drops some questionable statistics in a recent Twitter post.
“Big day tomorrow,” Pat Sajak writes in a Monday morning Twitter post.
The Wheel of Fortune host goes on to drop some seriously questionable numbers regarding the groundhog’s accuracy in the annual predictions.
“Government statistics show Groundhog Day predictions have been accurate over 80% of the time,” Sajak quips in the tweet. Of course, he “sourced” his information by adding the hashtag #USBureauOfTotallyMadeUpStatisticsLLC. So, the numbers are made up. But, could there be some reality in the game-show host’s satirical statistics?
How Accurate Are the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host’s Stats Compared to the Real Numbers?
Punxsutawney Phil has been forecasting the end-of-winter weather for well over 120 years now. However, Pat Sajak’s faith in the famous groundhog is way, way too optimistic. At least they are according to Live Science. According to a recent article, Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t have an incredibly accurate track record when it comes to his predictions. And, Pat Sajak’s guess is way, way off!
Sure, we all love to keep an eye on Punxsutawney Phil each year on February 2. After all, this has been a tradition since 1887. But, it turns out, his forecast isn’t something we can totally rely on each year.
According to records kept by The Groundhog Club, the group that takes care of Punxsutawney Phil throughout the year, the Groundhog day forecasts had predicted 104 long winters and 20 early springs by 2021. Now, nine years are missing from these statistics, but that still gives us 124 predictions to analyze, which is a pretty decent sample. This information paired with data Live Science collected from Stormfax Almanac’s data puts Punxsutawney Phil’s accuracy at about 39%.
And, Punxsutawney Phil’s success rate doesn’t fare any better as the accuracy of the recorded weather has improved. When comparing the groundhog’s accuracy over the years to records from 1969 on, Punxsutawney Phil’s success rate drops down three percent to 36%.
However, none of these numbers are important in the long run. Let’s face it, we just love seeing the little guy emerge each year. Whether Punxsutawney Phil is telling us to prepare for more cold, or if he is telling us to look forward to warmer days soon, his appearance always means that February has begun! And, six extra weeks of cold or not, spring is just around the corner!