PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – Pennsylvania’s prognosticating groundhog has seen his shadow, which means six more weeks of winter.
Punxsutawney Phil’s handlers made the announcement at sunrise Friday.
Legend has it if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, expect six more weeks of winter-like weather. If not, expect spring-like temperatures.
KDKA’s Lisa Washington reports —
In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside of Punxsutawney. That’s about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
“KDKA Morning News” co-host Larry Richert said the cold temperatures were brutal on Gobbler’s Knob.
“Once they do the Phil prognostication, there’s tens of thousands of people and you turn around and then disappear,” he said.
The fun doesn’t stop in Punxsutawney after Phil’s prediction. Larry says a couple got engaged last night and three weddings are scheduled in town on Friday.
In the United States alone, there are at least 10 relatively known groundhogs who make similar weather predictions.
Among them, Jimmy the Groundhog from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Buckeye Chuck from Ohio, Dunkirk Dave, Thistle the Whistlepig and Chattanooga Chuck.
There’s also Gen. Beauregard Lee who claims to be the most educated of the weather-predicting rodents. He’s received honorary degrees from the University of Georgia and Georgia State.
On this chilly Feb. 2, Gen. Lee and most of the prognosticating groundhogs agreed with Punxsutawney Phil that winter will lag on for six more weeks.
Only Staten Island Chuck and Milltown Mel – both of whom are in the northeast – predicted an early spring.
Records dating to 1887 show Phil predicting more winter 102 times while forecasting an early spring just 18 times. No records exist for the remaining years.
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