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. CJ

    I say we should kill the critter.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mary8711

    Everyone does remember that when Phil is yanked out of sleep on 2/2 that he is surrounded by people who make this decision for him. Why, you ask? Because, he can't talk. Still I always want to know what the prognostication is, just to see if they get it right. They did last year. I hope they are wrong this year.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bobby

    As far as I'm concerned, the only good groundhog is a de ad groundhog.

    February 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jj

    Way to go Bombo and banz!

    February 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Thanks, Jj! 🙂

      February 2, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LBW

    What I saw this morning on the Today show looked like a lot of fun. These people were up at the crack of dawn dancing and having a great time. Phil looked good. How can any of this be bad?

    February 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Wayne

    I have never met a groundhog I could trust, nor any other rodent for that matter

    February 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marion

      Maybe all of the ones you met were over 30?

      February 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JPX

    I'm in disbelief that adults waste their time on such stupidness. Then again, when we live in a world where people watch NASCAR, play country music, watch the Kardashians, and buy lottery tickets I guess I should stop being so disappointed in humanity.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      yeah.. maybe it's you

      February 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Distractions aren't always bad in life. But I do agree that the some of the ones you have listed aren't exactly thought producing or beneficial.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marion

      Why don't you give us a list of activities you approve?

      February 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      JPX, what are you so uptight about? I don't waste my time with the Kardashians. I do listen to country music as opposed to that head banging, metal, gangster rap crap. Whats wrong with a little innocent fun with P. Phil each February?

      February 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • realworld

      Really??? You are so deluded that you think YOU are in charge of telling the whole rest of the world which activities are worth spending time on? What a control freak you are. Or better said, what a freak you are. It's a good thing you have absolutely no power or authority over anybody.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Approved activities

      Sitting quietly and paying attention, doing as you're told.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dwas

      Hey man! That same world gave you Bill Hicks, TOOL, and Bacon !

      February 2, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      @Dwas: WORD!
      I like your thinking!

      February 2, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    The groundhog we follow in this part of Wisconsin says "If I see my shadow it's six more weeks of winter, if I don't, it will only be a month and a half".

    February 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chrissy

    @ JPX, having a bad day or are you just naturally a gloomy gus? With all the ugliness in todays society sometimes you just need 2 take a time out and enjoy a bit of fluff entertainment! Talking about a groundhog and his shadow hurts no one, costs nothing!

    February 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chrissy

    Lol @ BOMBO, that would put lees campaign on the worldwide map! Great idea!

    February 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. eddy

    It's for FUN PEOPLE, bunch of naegative lunatics you people here are...

    February 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • NorCalMojo

      It's a war on Groundhog Day.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Charlotte James

    Groundhog Day – kinda like believing in Santa – if you don't believe he will never come.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Double negatives make my head hurt

      If I don't believe he will never come...so I do believe he will ever come....or I don't believe he will come....or I do believe he will never come. I'm still working on the Lord of the Rings quote "I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." It's been 45 years since I read that.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. chrissy

    Now if they could only teach him to sing and dance eh?

    February 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      But that would be playing God.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Emma

    It's six weeks to the first day of Spring [March 19] regardless of the weather.

    February 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Hence, the irony…

      February 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NorCalMojo

    What's with all the hostility.

    Is there a war on Groundhog Day ? Someone better tell O'Reilly.

    February 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
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