10 Stats and Facts for Groundhog Day 2024

It’s Groundhog Day, but don’t put too much stock in what Punxsutawney Phil says about when springtime will arrive.  He’s only been right 39% of the time.  You’d be better off flipping a coin.

Here are a few stats and facts to help celebrate.

1.  Don’t put too much stock in Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction.  He’s been making them since 1886, and he’s only been right 39% of the time.  So you’d be better off flipping a coin.  (And that’s what PETA would prefer they do.)

2.  Still, 4% of people believe Phil is ALWAYS 100% right.  (???)  And the Groundhog Club claims he’s NEVER wrong . . . they say it’s THEIR fault for misinterpreting his language, “Groundhogese.”

3.  Last year was the third straight year Phil spotted his shadow, signaling six more weeks of winter.  That’s the USUAL prediction.

Coming into today, he’d seen his shadow 107 times, plus one “partial shadow” in 1942.  He’s only said “no shadow” 19 times that we know of.  There are 10 years where there’s no record.

4.  They used to EAT Phil after he made his prediction.  Which isn’t cool.  They served him up after the first official Groundhog Day back in the 1880s, and said he was quite “tender.”

5.  Despite that fact, officials at the Groundhog Club claim he’s immortal.  He supposedly drinks something called the “Elixir of Life” every summer, and they’ve been using the same groundhog all these years.

6.  Phil has a wife.  Her name is “Phyliss.”  They’ve never had kids.  The Groundhog Club says she doesn’t drink the Elixir of Life and ISN’T immortal.

7.  During Prohibition, Phil threatened to take drastic action.  He said if they didn’t let him have a drink, he’d impose SIXTY more weeks of winter.

8.  The Gobbler’s Knob event attracts thousands of people.  The record was around 40,000 in 2020.  Then the next year, it was ZERO.  They did it virtually in 2021 because of COVID-19.  Before the Bill Murray movie came out 30 years ago, only around 2,000 people were showing up for it.

9.  Other cities have their own local groundhogs or other animals who predict the weather.  The Groundhog Club considers them “imposters.”

There’s “Shubenacadie Sam” in Nova Scotia, Canada . . . Lucy the Lobster, also in Nova Scotia . . . Wiarton Willie in Ontario, Canada . . . Manitoba Merv in Manitoba, Canada . . . and Balzac Billy in Alberta, Canada, who’s always just a person in a groundhog costume.  (???)

There’s also Fufu the Hedgehog in Oregon . . . Cluxatawney Henrietta the Chicken in New York . . . Pisgah Penny the Squirrel in North Carolina . . . and Scramble the Duck in Connecticut.

A town in New Jersey has used a stuffed animal groundhog.

10.  A groundhog known as Milltown Mel was the headliner in central New Jersey, but he passed away a couple years ago, right before Groundhog Day.  (He apparently didn’t get any of Phil’s elixir.)

And the local festivities have been canceled AGAIN this year, because they haven’t been able to find a suitable replacement.

They say they WILL bring the tradition back, once they can find a groundhog . . . with or without experience in meteorology.

(USA Today / History / Weather.com / Groundhog.org / New York Post)