Published: Sun, February 04, 2018
Medical | By Jackie Banks

Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter

Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter

According to legend, if the rodent emerges from his dwelling and sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter should be expected.

As of 2017 Punxsutawney Phil had made 131 predictions - only 18 times going for the "no shadow" early spring.

Phil's forecast prediction of six more weeks of winter did not pan out when he saw his shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter.

What does that mean?

But the origins of predicting the arrival of spring dates back much further.

Today is Groundhog Day over in the U.S., a day where people watch with anticipation as a rodent decides if it wants to get out of bed or sleep for another six weeks.

While enjoying an early spring might sound like a good idea for outdoor activities, it can wreak havoc on agriculture, in particular when it comes to tricking crops into blooming early. Chuck - a three-decade veteran of weather predictions - did not see his shadow. According to Live Science, Phil has only been right 39 percent of the time. Welcome to six more weeks of winter.

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio skipped today's ceremony, several years after dropping a groundhog that later died.

If you ask Phil's handlers, called - no joke - the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, the groundhog's predictions aren't geographically specific (they always come to pass somewhere). When said Germans immigrated to America, hedgehogs were less in abundance, so they switched to groundhogs.

Groundhog Day originated from the Christian celebration Candlemas Day, which marked the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

This year, meteorologists predicted we'd be in for more cold. While many are probably hoping for an end to the harsh cold and snow, the changing of the seasons now lies in the paws of Punxsutawney Phil. "Someone has to nominate you and then you need to be approved by a Groundhog Day committee". Other states now celebrate their own Groundhog Day, with their own groundhog. The Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club don their top hats and tuxedoes and gather at Gobbler's Knob to await the furry forecast.

Punxsutawney is a borough in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, which lies 84 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Every year, thousands of people from across the U.S.travel to Punxsutawney. In the 1993 film "Groundhog Day", a reporter visits Punxsutawney for the big event, but becomes stuck in time.

He and his news team get caught in a blizzard and must stay in town overnight. Andie MacDowell stars as Murray's love interest and producer Rita.

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