Will spring come early this year?

Tea Wheat, Entertainment Writer

Now that Feb. 2 has officially passed, and we all know what that means- no, not Superbowl Sunday- Groundhog Day!

As many know, we love to determine whether spring will come early or if we will have a long winter based on whether or not a groundhog sees his shadow on Feb. 2. While it seems a little crazy and strange, it is definitely entertaining.

This year, Punxsutawney Phil got ready for his 134th prediction. On Sunday, Phil did not see his shadow! This means that spring is set to come early this year. Something extremely unique about this year is that he predicted an early spring, which according to Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean, does not happen very often. This prediction is the 21st in over 100 years that Phil has predicted an early spring. It is important to note that Phil is not the only groundhog used to predict an early spring, and that he is not the only groundhog in the United States this year to make this same prediction of an early end to winter!

So, how likely is this prediction to come true? And are we really due for an early end to winter this year?

Here in Macomb on Feb. 2 it was sunny and a beautiful 52 degrees, an amazing break from the bitter cold days that encompassed most of January. February seems hopeful for the weather to begin to get warmer, but unfortunately many weather reports around the United States seem to feel we will continue to experience winter weather for the next six weeks. So, maybe spring will begin mid-March rather than continuing winter through April like in some years past.

We have had a fairly mild winter, which definitely started late this year. So, I could really see this going either way. It would make sense that since winter started late and stayed particularly mild that it may get pushed into months that are normally associated with spring such as March and April. However, I am also hopeful that the mild winter and the beautiful 50-degree day we saw on Groundhog Day will continue, and that spring will come early and be pleasant to us. I feel it isn’t right to discuss things such as a mild winter and a 50-degree day in the beginning of February without mentioning that climate change can also play a huge factor in whether or not there will be an early end to winter this year.

When looking at the accuracy of past Groundhog Day predictions, I found that Phil is not the most reliable determiner of the weather. Some estimates by meteorologists of the accuracy of Phil indicate that his predictions were correct roughly 35-40 percent of the time. This is a lower accuracy than guessing the correct side when flipping a coin, but also higher than guessing on an A through D multiple choice question. So, in that sense, Phil may have some of us beat in the accuracy game. But, overall, his predictions are not the end all be all.

So, what do you think about an early end to winter? Your guess is just as good as Phil’s.