Groundhog Doesn't See His Shadow, Predicting Early Spring

03 February, 2019, 07:40 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Brett Carlsen  Getty Images

It is only the 19th time out of the 123 recorded appearances that Phil has seen his shadow, the York Daily Record reported.

In reality, Phil's prediction is decided ahead of time by a group on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney.

That's right, Groundhog Day isn't just a movie starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, it's very real, and it's a day celebrated in the U.S. and Canada with Dutch and German origin.

The Groundhog Day traditions were observed as usual in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on Saturday, despite the temperature of 2 degrees Fahrenheit. As the Midwest and East Coast try to recover from this week’s unsafe Arctic blast, Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog is gearing up to reveal whether an early spring is on the way or if winter will stick around. If the hedgehog saw its shadow, that meant they could expect six more weeks of winter temperatures. For centuries, the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. And while Punxsutawney Phil is the most famous weather-predicting groundhog, he is not the only one. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter, and the weather that day was important. But if the rodent does not see his shadow because of overcast skies, spring will come early.

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Other towns have their own groundhog mascots as well, including Birmingham Bill in Alabama and Staten Island Chuck in NY.

While the exact calculations are disputed, IFC's Simon Gallagher estimates Bill Murray's character in the classic film "Groundhog Day" relived the day 12,403 days - that's 33 years and 358 days!

Male groundhogs emerge early to look for a mate.

NOAA has said that Punxsutawney Phil has "no predictive skill," and looking back at the past 10 years, Phil's been accurate about 40 percent of the time. His predictions were wrong in both 2017 and 2018.

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