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Groundhog Day

Since February 2nd, 1887, everyone has had a keen interest in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Each year, the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, predicts whether we’ll have an early spring (if he doesn’t see his shadow) or six more weeks of wintry weather (in the event that he does see it). Although Punxsutawney Phil has only been accurate just under 40% of the time, it’s still good fun to see what he’ll say on Groundhog’s Day. We take a look at his Groundhog Day predictions through the years.

Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow more often than not. On February 2nd, 1887 and in 1888 more bad weather was predicted when he saw his shadow early in the morning. He would go on to see his shadow again in the years 1898, 1900 and 1901. He would see it again each year from 1903 to 1933 and again from 1935 to 1941. He would only see a partial shadow in 1942 but the wintry prediction would return in 1944 through 1949. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow again each year from 1951 through 1969. After a small break, the shadow returned in 1971 through 1974 and again in 1976 through 1982. 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1989 were all shadow years as well as 1991 through 1994. 1996 and 1998 would both be shadow years. Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow every year since 2000.

The Groundhog Days where Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow were further apart. The first time he predicted the early arrival of spring was on February 2nd, 1890. Twelve years after that, in 1902, he would miss seeing his shadow again. He wouldn’t have a “non shadow” year again until thirty-two years later in 1934. Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow would be absent in 1950 and again in 1970. “Non Shadow” years became more frequent including 1975, 1983, 1986, 1988 and 1990. The ‘90’s would have three years with Phil’s shadow missing; 1995, 1997 and 1999. 2007 was the first time in the new century that Phil didn't see his shadow.

There were no records kept of Punxsutawney Phil’s Groundhog Day predictions in 1889, from 1891 – 1897 and 1899. Punxsutawney Phil didn’t have a prediction in 1943. He didn’t appear that Groundhog’s Day.

Do you want Punxsutawney Phil to see his shadow or to avoid it? Let us know in the Today in History forum!


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