AccuWeather meteorologists weigh in on Punxsutawney Phil's prediction

Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring during the 134th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, on Sunday morning, but do AccuWeather meteorologists agree?

Punxsutawney Phil's forecast accuracy is approximately 39%, however this year he could be right predicting an early spring.

"For most of the country, there really has not been much of a winter," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said. "In fact, we had one of the warmest Januarys in history across the country."

Areas from the Texas and Florida Gulf coasts to the Great Lakes and the Northeast were noticeably warmer than normal in January.

The springlike warmth has even tricked some plants into thinking it is time to sprout with early budbreak seen in many locations.

"We are now expecting February temperatures to be above normal across most of the country during the month. Only the northern Plains and Rockies will likely be below normal," Samuhel said.

"February will start out very warm. The next two weeks look way above normal, then it should trend colder later in the month into March," Samuhel said.

In January, cities from Houston to Atlanta to Chicago to Boston were all roughly 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit above normal through the majority of January.

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Temperatures soared as high as the 60s to the low 70s across the eastern United States.

Buffalo, New York, was roughly 8.8 degrees higher than usual during the month of January, while Boston, Massachusetts, was about 8.9 degrees higher than average in January.

Boston experienced record highs in the 70s on consecutive January days for the first time since record keeping began in 1872.

"Temperatures that high are more characteristic of the normal temperatures for March, or even April," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Courtney Travis about the January temperatures.

AccuWeather.com's full U.S. spring forecast will be released Feb. 5, 2020.

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