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How True Are Punxsutawney Phil's Predictions?

Last updated on Friday, February 3, 2012

(UNDATED) - Each year on Feb. 2, men in tuxedos knock on the doors of an oak stump in Gobblers Knob, located in Punxsutawney, PA, to see if the country will have an early spring or six more weeks of winter.

This year, Punxsutawney Phil told the Inner Circle - a select group of members from the Punxsatawney Groundhog Club - that we will have to wait for spring.

Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow Thursday, but most Hoosiers won't complain if six more weeks of winter are like the season experienced so far.

Woodstock Ill. held its own Groundhog Day ceremony this morning with polar-opposite results. There, Woodstock Willie didn't see his shadow, presaging a spring that is just around the corner.

"Our announcement was a little better than Punxsutawney," said Mayor Brian Sager.

The folks in Pennsylvania, however, say any other groundhog but theirs is a charlaton.

Above-normal temperatures will continue through the weekend, with some rain chances that could damper Super Bowl festivities on Saturday.

But how accurate are Phil's predictions?

According to Stormfax.com, which keeps records of when the groundhog has seen his shadow, Phil is accurate 39 percent of the time.

And due to the unusually warm winter we've been having, hopefully he'll be wrong this year.

According to the Weather Channel's website, last year 63 percent of the country was covered in snow. Unless a giant blizzard pops up in the near future, the U.S. won't come close this year - barely 25 percent of the country is covered in snow.

Alaska, Seattle and Midland Texas are above average, but ski resorts around the country are making their own snow because their slopes are bare, and in the upper plains, the snow is needed to ward off drought conditions.

So maybe we should hope Phil is right - just as long as the country doesn't see the type of weather that created "snowpocalypses."

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