Six More Weeks of Winter as Punxsutawney Phil Again Sees His Shadow

Joe’s Weather Blog It’s Groundhog Day

According to legend, that means the weather will be wintry for the next six weeks.

Punxsutawney Phil with one of his handlers on Friday.

In reality, though, Phil's prediction is decided ahead of time by the tuxedo-clad group of men on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill just outside of Punxsutawney, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

People in the United States and Canada will be gearing up to celebrate the annual Groundhog Day, Friday. This year marked the 132nd ceremony, which brought visitors from around the world.

According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring. If Phil doesn't see his shadow, and early spring can be expected. Thousands of people travel to Punsxutawney annually to witness Phil's Groundhog Day weather forecast.

"They're really cool animals so I like Groundhog Day", said Dan Hodges, naturalist at the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District.

Sir Walter Wally in Raleigh, North Carolina was correct in 68 percent of his region when he did not see his shadow previous year.




Every February 2, all eyes turn to a small central Pennsylvania borough as winter-weary Northeasterners await weather guidance from the predictive rodent.

Groundhog Day - specifically February 2 - traces its roots back to an ancient celebration of the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

How accurate are Punxsutawney Phil's predictions?

At 7:25 a.m. Eastern time on a slope outside Punxsutawney, Pa., known as Gobbler's Knob, the apparently unfading Phil - a similar rat who propelled the convention in 1887, on the off chance that you trust his handlers - searched for his shadow. Spring came early in 2016, thanks to a super El Nino.

A rare misstep in 2013, when Woody incorrectly forecast an early spring, prompted an apology from the MI mammal.

Phil has been right only six times in the last 30 years. But when they moved to Pennsylvania, they found another creature to take its place.

Either that, or every day they're surrounded by groundhogs. Groundhog Day even gave its name to a 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray. Since 1988, the groundhog was "correct" 14 times and "wrong" 16 times.

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