PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. – A furry critter in a western Pennsylvania town has predicted six more weeks of winter during an annual Groundhog Day celebration.
People gathered at Gobbler’s Knob on Thursday when members of Punxsutawney Phil’s “inner circle” called him out of his stump at dawn to hear if he had seen his shadow — and they say he did. According to folklore, it will be another six weeks of winter when he sees his shadow. If he doesn’t, spring will come early.
The “inner circle” is a group of local dignitaries responsible for planning the events, as well as feeding and caring for Phil himself.
The annual event in Punxsutawney, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, grew out of a German legend about a furry rodent. The gathering attracts thousands every year.
This year, Phil’s prediction came during a week in which much of the southern US has been left a mess of ice, sleet and snow.
According to records from 1887, Phil predicted winter more than 100 times. Ten years were lost because no records were kept, the organizers said.
Forecasts for 2021 and 2022 also called for an additional six weeks of winter.
While Punxsutawney Phil may be the most famous woodchuck seer, he is by no means alone. Staten Island Chuck of New York City made his prediction for an early spring at an event Thursday at the Staten Island Zoo.