May 20, 2018

Punxsutawney Phil: Six more weeks of winter ahead

02 February 2018, 09:10 | Rufus Hill

Chris Hondros Getty Images

Punxsutawney Phil Season Prediction Winter Shadow Pennsylvania

First celebration: The first Groundhog Day was celebrated at Gobbler's Knob on February 2, 1887.

One more fun fact: The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club says Punxsutawney Phil is 131 years old and gets his longevity from drinking groundhog punch.

Since 1886, the world's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, has been providing predictions about winter from his lair in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

If the groundhog comes out and the day is cloudy and he can not see his shadow, he will take this as a sign of spring and stay above the ground.

Every year, the country turns its attention to a small city in Pennsylvania, where, legend has it, a groundhog named Phil has the ability to predict an early spring. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but hanging out at #Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, PA and watching the annual event unfold in person would be something spectacular to do at least once in your life.

Wiarton Willie, the emerged from his den just after 8am before making his prediction.

Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck aren't the only marmot weather forecasters in North America.

"We don't really predict that far into the future", said Ryan Sharp, a forecaster at the National Weather Service.

"So no matter what, Groundhog Day is a turning point". Oddly, if the weather is cloudy and he doesn't see his shadow, we can expect warmer temperatures and an early spring.

Can't make it out to Punxsutawney to see Phil?

No respect: Was Groundhog Day always a big deal?

Last year, Woody refused to come out of her house, indicating a longer winter in her nineteenth prediction. The switch from hedgehogs to groundhogs is much easier to follow, groundhogs are more readily available than hedgehogs in Pennsylvania.

John Griffiths has been a member of Phil's Inner Circle for 20 years.

A rare misstep in 2013, when Woody incorrectly forecast an early spring, prompted an apology from the MI mammal. On that day, clergy would distribute candles and bless them - and if the skies were clear, it meant an extended winter was in the forecast. The predictions are actually wrong more than they're right.

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