The two co-hosts joked about the accuracies of groundhogs and meteorologists' weather predictions
On the Today show Friday, Melvin, 44, joked around with his co-host, 69, about meteorologists’ accuracies — but Roker wasn’t very pleased by his joke.
After Punxsutawney Phil predicted on Friday morning that spring would come early this year, Melvin and Roker briefly discussed the news during the broadcast.
“He didn’t see a shadow,” Melvin said at the start of the segment. “That’s right folks that means an early spring is on the way again, this is according to Punxsutawney Phil.”
“Yes, and there are a number of acolytes around the country, other wannabe groundhogs," began Roker. "Look this is the only 21st time he has not seen a shadow. He’s seen it 137 times. But the accuracy rate is about 40% from the groundhog.”
“Forty percent... that’s it? He could be a meteorologist!” joked Melvin.
Roker let out an exaggerated slow laugh and replied with a falsely chipper tone, “Oh you’re so funny, Craig…”
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On Groundhog Day, several people waited to see what the famous groundhog would see when he emerged from his hole. It was reported that Phil didn't see his shadow for the first time in two years.
If Phil rose from his burrow and did not see his shadow again, there would still be an extra six weeks of winter weather.
According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, the animal meteorologist seems to accurately guess the weather patterns less than half the time, at 40%. For the past 10 years, Phil has correctly predicted only 30% of the time.
The longstanding ritual began when Roman legions brought that tradition to the Germanic tribes who concluded that if the sun appeared on Candlemas Day and a hedgehog cast a shadow, there would be six more weeks of bad weather to come.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, German immigrants brought the tradition to Pennsylvania. The first Groundhog Day was reported in a newspaper in 1886, according to the Punxsutawney Ground Club. The following year, the first official trek to Gobbler’s Farm began, and quickly the centuries-old tradition began.
According to Pennsylvania's tourism website, the event draws about 30,000 visitors annually to Punxsutawney (whose general population is about 5,700), while millions watch it on television or Internet streaming.
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