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Punxsutawney Phil predicts early spring after waking up to not see his shadow on Groundhog Day

Groundhog handler AJ Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil after he did not see his shadow predicting an early Spring during the 138th annual Groundhog Day festivities on Friday February 2, 2024 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

(PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa.) — Punxsutawney Phil — perhaps the world’s most famous groundhog — has woken up on Friday and not seen his shadow meaning, according to legend, that we are destined for an early spring.

Legend has it that if he sees his shadow then winter will continue for another six weeks but if Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow spring will come early.

The weather in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania — located approximately 75 miles northeast of Pittsburgh — during the announcement was overcast with temperatures hovering slightly above freezing in the mid to upper 30s.

Still, no matter the weather, this hasn’t stopped an estimated 30,000 people annually from attending the festivities which originally stems from the Christian holiday Candlemas Day as well as Pennsylvania Dutch traditions going back several generations.

Phil’s actual prediction, however, takes place ahead of time in a place called Gobbler’s Knob, a small hill just outside of the town, and has done so each year since 1887. This year marks the 138th time the event has occurred, according to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office,

The men in top hats surrounding Phil during the ceremony are members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle. According to their website, their role is to “protect and perpetuate the legend of the great weather-predicting groundhog Punxsutawney Phil.”

Phil’s predictions have been fairly even over the past decade or so. From 2015 to 2020, the groundhog predicted a longer winter three times and an early spring three times. But overall, dating back to 1887, according to the Associated Press, Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter more than 100 times.

In fact, Punxsutawney Phil has now predicted six more weeks of winter 107 times and an early spring only 21 times — with no record of 10 of those years since 1887, according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Ultimately, Punxsutawney Phil’s “predictions” should really be taken with a grain of salt.

In the 10 annual predictions from 2013 to 2022, Punxsutawney Phil has actually been even less accurate that flipping a coin with this weather predictions. He has been right just four times in that period — 2020, 2016, 2014 and 2013 — and was incorrect in the six other instances.

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