A furry critter in a western Pennsylvania town has predicted six more weeks of winter during an annual Groundhog Day celebration.
People gathered Thursday at Gobbler’s Knob as members of Punxsutawney Phil’s “inner circle” summoned the groundhog from his tree stump at dawn to learn if he has seen his shadow — and they say he did. According to folklore, if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, spring comes early.
The “inner circle” is a group of local dignitaries who are responsible for planning the events, as well as feeding and caring for Phil himself.
The annual event in Punxsutawney, about 105 kilometres northeast of Pittsburgh, originated from a German legend about a furry rodent. The gathering annually attracts thousands.
Meanwhile, north of the border on Vancouver Island, the marmot named Van Isle Violet is also calling for six more weeks of winter.
“She seemed more than happy to tuck back into bed for more hibernation,” the Marmot Recovery Foundation said in a tweet Thursday morning.
The #GoundhogDay2023 prediction is in: Van Isle Violet is calling for 6 more weeks of winter. She seemed more than happy to tuck back into bed for more hibernation. #GroundhogDay #VanIsleViolet https://t.co/zCRNg41zfx
— Marmot Recovery Fdn (@MarmotRecovery) February 2, 2023
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration compared Punxsutawney Phil’s forecast to the national weather for the last 10 years and found “on average, Phil has gotten it right 40 per cent of the time.”
This year, Phil’s prediction came during a week when a mess of ice, sleet and snow lingered across much of the southern U.S.
According to records dating back to 1887, Phil has predicted winter more than 100 times. Ten years were lost because no records were kept, organizers said.
The 2021 and 2022 forecasts also called for six more weeks of winter.
While Punxsutawney Phil may be the most famous groundhog seer, he’s certainly not the only one. New York City’s Staten Island Chuck made his prediction for an early spring during an event Thursday at the Staten Island Zoo.