Groundhog Day

Groundhog Club handler A.J. Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the Thursday’s celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. Phil’s handlers said that the groundhog has forecast six more weeks of winter. Barry Reeger/Associated Press

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 Thursday at Gobbler’s Knob as members of Punxsutawney Phil’s “inner circle” summoned him 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 originated from a German legend about a furry rodent. The event in the community about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh annually attracts thousands.

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.

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