Punxsutawney Phil Predicts Six More Weeks Of Winter
PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pennsylvania - The handlers of Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, said the furry rodent has “predicted” six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow at dawn Thursday.
The top hat-wearing members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle reveal Phil’s forecast every February 2, based on a German legend surrounding Candlemas. The legend says if a furry rodent casts a shadow that day, winter continues. If not, spring comes early.
In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
Thousands of people gathered overnight to await the forecast. They were treated to folk music and a Star Wars-themed fireworks display under cloudy skies, with temperatures just below freezing, while they waited.
Records dating to 1887 show Phil has now predicted more winter 103 times while forecasting an early spring just 18 times - including last year. There are no records for the remaining years.
Jeff Grube, member of the “Groundhog Inner Circle,” told CBS Pittsburgh that the movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray has increased the crowds at Gobbler’s Knob since its release in 1993.
“That just got us such a wide notoriety that the crowds probably grew by 10 times,” Grube said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.