Punxsutawney Phil Sees Shadow, Winter To Continue
7:25 AM EST, February 2, 2015
By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Andrew Rosenthal
Punxsutawney Phil has made his Groundhog Day prediction and he saw his shadow, so it looks like there will be six more weeks of winter.
The forecasting method, according to the tradition, involves bringing Phil out of his burrow at around 7:20 a.m. on the morning of Feb. 2, a holiday celebrating the midpoint of winter known as Candlemas Day. If the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. However, if Phil doesn`t see his shadow, winter is said to come to an abrupt end and spring is here.
This "weather lore" has often been proven as accurate through science but equally as much it has been disproved. German settlers in Pennsylvania traditionalized Groundhog Day in the United States. These settlers brought a tradition stemming from Candlemas Day, where Europeans predicted if the sun shone on that day there would be a "second winter."
German settlers found a profusion of groundhogs in the state. They determined that the groundhog, resembling the European hedgehog, was a very intelligent animal. They therefore decided that if the sun did appear on February 2nd, such a wise animal as the groundhog would see its shadow and hurry back into its underground home for another six weeks of winter.
The tradition gathering in Punxsutawney to see if a groundhog seeing his shadow dates back to 1887. He has only predicted an early spring only 18 times, previously most recently in 2013. That prediction was met with derision and controversy, as Mother Nature had different ideas, including heavy snow across the Northeast and Midwest and record cold.
Numerous other cities also have their own Groundhog Day mascots, including Raleigh, N.C., with Sir Walter Wally, Buckeye Chuck of Marion, Ohio, and General Beauregard Lee of Liliburn, Ga. Groundhog Day isn`t just an American tradition either, with Canada having its furry prognosticator, Wiarton Willy, giving the country a spring (or winter) forecast as well.
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Story Image: Groundhog Club handler Ron Ploucha holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 126th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler`s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Gene J. Puskar, AP)
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