February 27, 2024

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Groundhog accuracy | Georgia groundhog vs Phil

3 min read

Who should Georgians put their trust in: Punxsutawney Phil or the state’s own Gen. Beauregard Lee?

ATLANTA — It’s that magical time of year again when folks across the country put away their fancy meteorology tools and put their trust in the hands of small furry creatures who live in holes.

Getting caught up in the excitement of Groundhog Day is always a fun tradition, but just how accurate are the little buggers? And who should Georgians put their trust in: Punxsutawney Phil or the state’s own Gen. Beauregard Lee?

Well, according to findings last year from FiveThirtyEight, Punxsutawney Phil is a “charlatan,” their words not ours.

That’s right, Phil is not nearly as accurate as his reputation would have you believe.

The data analysis group determined that Pennsylvania’s favorite rodent is only accurate about our weather in the south about 50% of the time from 1991 to 2021. In his home climate, it’s even worse: 39.3%.

That’s pretty close to recent findings by the NOAA, who determined that Phil is really only accurate about 40% of the time and tends to mostly predict longer winters.

Sounds like someone needs to find a new gig.

But how does Beauregard Lee compare? FiveThirtyEight did a side-by-side comparison of various…um, weather animals across the nation to see how they stack up against each other. As it turns out, Beau is actually pretty accurate, for our region at least.

Between 2012 and 2021, Phil only had a 50% prediction rate for his home region, while Beau had 70% for the south.

Here’s what the data analysis group had to say about Beau’s average across all regions:

“General Beauregard Lee of Jackson, Georgia (widely considered to be the Punxsutawney Phil of the South) had the best overall rate, averaging 63 percent accuracy across all nine regions from 2012 to 2021.”

However, FiveThirtyEight noted that critters that predict warm weather more often tend to have a more accurate percentage. Though even then, the notion of what constitutes “early spring” is pretty vague.

In the end, you’re probably better off sticking with your weather app or trusting one of our 11Alive meteorologists.



  • Download the app on your Apple or Android device.
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  • Send photos and videos through the app by selecting the Near Me feature on the bottom right taskbar of the app and entering your information.


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2024-02-01 17:15:31

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