Just where is Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania? What part of the planet does Groundhog Phil’s prediction cover? And how accurate has Phil been over the years? Today’s prophecy of an early spring is exciting, but is it false hope or does Phil really have an accurate shadow?
These and other questions came to mind this morning as worldwide news was made when Phil came out of his home and did not see his shadow. So who is going to get this early spring predicted by a groundhog with the last name of Sowerby and a wife named Phyllis? Just those in his hometown? All of the US or all over the world?
According to Wikipedia, Groundhog Day is known in the US and Canada so I suppose this is the geographical coverage area of his prediction. Nevertheless, I hope this extends to northern Europe this year since that is where I have been spending a lot of my time. Maybe a strong northeasterly wind will carry his good weather vibes across the pond today.
Phil’s success rate is a ho-hum 39%. Perhaps this is not impressive to some, but really not so bad when you consider he has been doing this for more than 1.25 Centuries without the benefit of meteorological advances like Doppler.
With such a great history, I wondered about witnessing this event myself. Can you even fly into Punxsutawney? Yes, the city (town?) has a Municipal Airport. As for an airport code, no, it’s not PUN or PUX or PUT. Rather, N35 is the code that points to Punxsutawney’s airport, which has existed for nearly 84 years.
As always, Flightstats was very helpful but I am sure many of you will appreciate the photo (above) they use for this airport. Seriously, a 747 at a gate? Very interesting since N35 doesn’t even have a tower – much less gates – and I doubt their runway is long enough for any mainline aircraft except for the most dire emergency situations.
So with Phil’s success rate of 39% and Flighstat’s over-exaggeration of what
PUN or PUX or PUT N35 looks like, maybe you want to consider a trip to somewhere else next February. In the meantime, being an optimistic person, I’m heading out to begin my Spring garden today.
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