February 2nd, 2012
12:54 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Punxsutawney Phil skeptics burrow through groundhog forecasts

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Wayne: "Punxsutawney Phil, wives and computers are never wrong."

Joe T.: "You forgot to add politicians and teenage children into that mix."

According to followers of the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, there are six weeks more of winter to come.  Phil saw his shadow Thursday morning, so it must be true. Readers talked about the relatively mild weather in their areas, the tradition of groundhog weather prognostication, and - cover your ears, Phil - even groundhog recipes.

More winter weather, Punxsutawney Phil predicts

Some people shared stories of comparable groundhog weather prognostication in their area.

charles Beale: "We have at least two groundhog predictors in Canada. Wiarton Willie in Ontario didn't see his shadow and so spring is just around the corner for us here 'up North.' "

Bob: "Phil is high. He can't see the evidence in front of his beady little eyes. Staten Island Chuck – now there's a varmint firmly grounded in reality."

Some wondered if modern technology is tainting the results.

Bobby: "I don't know how Phil could ever not see his shadow. With TV cameras and lights all over the place, any creature is bound to see his shadow ... unless he's facing the source(s) of the light. I think I read last year that, before this became so commercialized, Phil would see his shadow on sunny days. In Pennsylvania at this time of year, sunny days only reveal themselves on bitterly cold days. As the days warm toward spring, cloud cover would not allow Phil to see his shadow. Phil is the Great Meteorologist of PA, but he can't do it accurately with all of that infernal artificial lighting."

Others said probability and statistics don't support a correlation between Phil's shadow and the actual meteorological observations.

lisabones: "Actually, the groundhog's predictions are right 39% of the time, sooooo, we should believe the opposite!"

BOMBO ©: "The success rate is roughly 50/50. The same as flipping a coin. But apparently this is more 'fun.' "

kpjenk: "Kind of figured more winter would be the prediction. I find it funny that when you look at the past history of the predictions, every other year is an early spring and vice versa. Last year was early spring, therefore this year is more winter."

Others saw potential government waste at work.

Buck: "This is one of the biggest wastes of money. We keep complaining at this economy, yet we waste money on this. I would love to know how much is spent on this fiasco."

Joe T.: "Yes it really hurts the economy. Oh wait, you mean greatly helps the economy of Punxsutawney. I highly doubt much money is spent by anybody other than the city of Punsutawney and I doubt it's very much money to have this celebration in such a small town."

Coexist2011: "Get over it already! Life's really not that tough that you'd be totally rid of a sense of humor, or even indifference at the least. Why do we somehow tie every inconsequential event to the economy?"

Buck: "Hey Joe ... what about all the TV coverage, all the gas and jet fuel spent to get to the event, all the paper wasted to print news articles about the event, all the electricity wasted, all the human resources that could be better put to use? THINK!"

Some were just plain skeptical, but others said maybe there's a chance Phil is right.

RobCM: "How often is this over-size squirrel correct within the area where he lives?"

StClown: "Given that the vernal equinox is just a few days more than six weeks away, I'd say he's doing about as well any other long-term weather forecaster. It's just a hunch, though."

Marge: "Isn't it odd it is six more weeks til spring and Old Phil tells us it will be six more weeks til spring. What a prophet."

Some people are experiencing weird weather where they live.

elections are rigged: "Six more weeks of spring/fall-like conditions in the southeast. Farmers Almanac and the abundance of acorns on the ground said it should have been a colder than normal winter, but climate change said something else. Summer is going to be a rough one if this trend continues. Guess I need to adjust my garden planting times to adjust to the new milder 'winters.' "

Donald Reid: "Man, weird weather. I'm in Kansas and it's been like in the 60s the past three days. Yesterday was 35 at 6 a.m. By noon it was 60."

Cabal: "Oof, another 6 weeks of high 70s and low 80s? That is rough."

Hasher Iva: "I'm with you. I live in Florida and an additional 6 weeks of mid 70s and sunshine is just fine with me."

Karaya: "What winter weather? We haven't seen much winter at all this year here in New England, to much disappointment for all the winter sports fans."

Hooner: "He needs to move here – he wouldn't have seen his shadow thru all the fog."

These folks defended the groundhog.

Joe T.: "Why are people commenting here so against Groundhog Day? Why does it bother you so much? It brings it some much needed tourism to Punxsutawney. If you don't like it, you don't have to go to Punxsutawney or read news stories about it or watch it on the news. Let the people have their fun."

Thinker: "Because they are unhappy people who believe the only thing in life that matters is making money. Or they are jealous of others' happiness."

One gets the feeling some people would like to lead a groundhog's life.

Tman: "How is it unemployment is at 9% and this useless rat still has a job?"

Sean: "Affirmative action."

Humanist5683: "He makes $268 million a year, has a golden parachute, and his burrow looks like Trump’s NY apartment. He’s headed down to hang out with his GOP cronies right now, on a private plane he’s using as a corporate write-off."

One commenter wrote a poem:

Mark in PA:
"What winter?
It was 61 degrees yesterday here in PA.
There were moths fluttering around our door light!
Some of the tulips are tipping.
Punxsutawney Phil is trippin'."

Gobbler's Knob? No comment.

banasy ©: "It’s a cute and harmless tradition. ... If people are getting their weather information from a rodent, they have far bigger problems. ... I still like the name 'Gobbler’s Knob.' "

Something strange is going on, for this commenter.

CJP: "I might be losing my mind but this is the third morning in a row that I have woken up to find out that Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow and that we have three more weeks of winter! What's going on?"


RinosRwinos: "I am a groundhog and saw my shadow so we are getting six more weeks of winter. Go Punxsutawney Phil! Let's hope we don't get six more weeks of GOP primaries."

Inner circle?

Marti: "The most interesting part of the article was where it described Inner Circle Presidency. ... What is this secret society and how (do) they control the weather thru wildlife?!?!?"

It's what's for dinner.

realtalker1: "Yeah right. Maybe in Pennsylvania. But where I'm from we haven't even had a freeze yet this year. Which is way out of whack. We usually have highs in the 30s for much of February. The weather reports highs in the 70s for the next 10 days and no changes expected beyond that. I've already seen some trees blooming. This is the dumbest groundhog I've ever heard of. I'm planting my vegetables next week."

Dave in DC: "Don't forget the mushrooms, I understand with a little red wine and shallots, it makes a great sauce for roasted groundhog."

You heard it here, folks. What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Animals • Overheard on CNN.com • Pennsylvania • U.S.
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    You people take all of this waaaay too seriously. Every year when Phil comes out, wether he sees his shadow or not, it's still six weeks until spring.
    Try smiling and taking this as it's meant to be, A lighthearted tradition.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Consuela (from Famuly Guy)

      Uh Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

      February 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. chrissy

    Safe bet...Prepare for the worst and hope for the best!

    February 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    Hey chrissy
    Is it still winter up there ?

    February 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BOMBO ©

    Winter? Someone had winter this year? I think we had about 5 days of it in Edmonton, mid January. And now it's gone.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    Damn, where's Al Gore when we need him to explain this stuff. Could he have possibly been right about all this ? Can we as humans control what's happening ? Is this the end of the world as we know it ? All the answers to these and many more questions on our next episode of "Where the hell's the winter ?

    February 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      We’ll get it in May, right after I plant my annuals.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • trying to get a reaction from banasy

      Annuals? Is that what they're calling cannabis these days?

      February 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Al Gore

    I personally am relieved that Phil saw his shadow. It means that we have not yet destroyed the sun.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. saywhat

    @banasy@ Bombo

    Good morning.

    caught your comments among those chosen. Good ones.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Thanks, saywhat.
      Tick, tick…bzzzzz...my fifteen minutes are up…

      February 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. saywhat

    Its fun folks, no scientific mumbo-jumbo needed here.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BOMBO ©

    Thanks saywhat. I'm going to donate my prize money (all 0 dollars of it) to the groundhog preservation fund. They do good work.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy ©

    Bombo, we made it!

    AND on a comment I thought would be deleted…lol…

    Thanks, nsaidi! 🙂

    February 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RAGE Against the Machine

    I still want that damn rats hide for a coat!

    February 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. gung hoe better than the weather than the weatherman

    I predict that we will have 6 more weeks of non winter.Does that answer your question bobcat mister suntanman? by the way hello everybody.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. gung hoe

    Darn are we haveing that deletion problem again

    February 2, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Try posting as Alec Baldwin. That comment is still there.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      I'm not sure what you guys are referring to (certainly not on this post), but if you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at nicole.saidi@turner.com.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. pmk1953

    Hey, I see yinz finally got noticed. Way to go. The boss came up yesterday,t so I disappeared early. (better things to do. : ) )

    February 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. EWBONE

    Does this mean six more weeks of Newt?

    February 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ann west

      😃 lol lol lol , I was about to say "why is that guy holding Newt up in the air like that❔. lol lol lol lol

      February 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
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