This was Punxsutawney Phil’s 131st Groundhog Day prediction, dating back to 1886. So far his tally is 18 times for “early spring” versus 103 times for “6 more weeks of winter.” (That’s only 121 years, yes. They lost the records for 10 years in there somewhere; probably destroyed when the illegal still in Phil’s burrow caught fire he brewed his magical elixir of immortality.)
However, this year The Washington Post has called out Phil for promulgating fake news:
Phil probably should have phoned in last year’s forecast this morning, because this one was wrong before he even woke up. When a season begins and when it ends tends to be a subjective matter, but there are actual metrics that phenologists (plant scientists!) use to determine when spring has arrived.
In parts of the Southeast, green leaves are popping out more than 20 days ahead of schedule, according to the National Phenology Network. In late January, daffodils were reported in Oklahoma, crocuses in Delaware and tulips in Boston.
Hard-hitting! Although, let’s face it: tulips in Boston in January is more than a bit alarming. If Punxsutawney Phil is a climate-change denier, we should find out sooner rather than later.
Still, it’s not clear the Post will have any more luck with Phil than it’s been having with Donald Trump. In the past few years Phil has reveled in his rock star status, facts be damned, and today was no different: “The lead-up to the announcement was raucous with singing and dancing in front of a cheering crowd.”
See our full biography of Punxsutawney Phil »