This Friday morning, a small town in Western Pennsylvania becomes the center of the weather folklore universe.
Since 1886, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania has laid claim to the all-knowing groundhog by the name of Phil who will tell the country whether an early Spring is coming or there are six more weeks of Winter is our fate.
With Celtic and German roots, legend has it that if Phil comes out of his lair on February 2nd and sees his shadow, Winter shall continue six more weeks into the middle of March but if a shadow is not spotted then get ready to ditch the parkas and shovels.
Is there any truth to this legend when it comes to the end of Winter in central New York?
We’ll use the amount of snow that falls from Groundhog’s Day on in Syracuse as the measure of whether Spring comes early or not.
The Storm Team dug through the numbers and here is what we found using the most recent climatological 30-year average of 1991 through 2020.
Punxsutawney Phil predicted Winter to continue 21 of those 30 years while an early Spring was predicted the other nine years.
When Phil predicted a longer winter the snowfall from February 2nd through the final snowflake of the season in Syracuse was 52.7” but the average when an early Spring was the prediction came out to 50.8”. Statistically there is no real difference
The verdict: there will likely be more winter in central New York whether Phil sees his shadow Friday morning or not.
If you are a true Central New Yorker, though, you knew that before reading this article.
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