By Peter Lesser ( | First Posted: Feb 02, 2013 05:01 PM EST

Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring (Photo : Reuters)

Punxsutawney Phil woke up this brisk Saturday morning and didn't see his historical shadow, indicating that an early spring is right around the corner, according to the Associated Press. As the legend goes, if the groundhog sees his shadow on Feb. 2 then six more long weeks of winter will ensue. But if we're lucky, it won't, and spring will come early. We got lucky, or did we?

Since 1887, the rodent has failed to see his shadow only 17 times. It's usually expected that he will see is it, so on special years like this one, the absence of his shadow is something to celebrate.

But just how accurate is Punxsutawney Phil? Last year, Phil did see his shadow, predicting another month and a half of cold winter, yet the lower 48 states experienced their fourth warmest winters on record, according to The Weather Channel. The official Groundhog Day website claims that the groundhog, known as the "seer of seers" is 100 percent correct every time, "of course!"

It's hard to validate such claims when, according to Stormfax, only 39 percent of Phil's predictions have been right. When pairing the data, it appears as though warming winters and the resulting earlier springs are more common. This is a worrisome trend that global warming advocates have been warning us about for years.

Last winter was one of the warmest this nation has ever seen, and this summer was reported as one of the top three hottest summers in the past 60 years. As the past few seasons have been getting progressively warmer, climate control issues slowly creep into the forefront of our minds.

So should we rejoice that Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow? His track record is nothing to marvel at, but if he is indeed correct, what does another unusually warm winter mean? If only Phil would offer us a few more details on his brilliant weather predicting abilities...

Here's the video of this year's ceremony:

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