6 more weeks of winter according to Phil the groundhog

Saul Bowman
February 4, 2018

It's a Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog-named Punxsutawney Phil-comes out of its burrow on February 2 and sees a shadow due to clear weather, he will go back underground for another six weeks of winter.

If the groundhog doesn't see its shadow, spring is around the corner.

In reality, Phil's prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill just outside of Punxsutawney. It's the third consecutive year that Chuck has predicted an extended period of wintry weather. That means six more long, snowy weeks.

"Unfortunately, there have been years where the president has misinterpreted what Phil said", former handler Ron Ploucha told pennlive.com "Because Phil's never wrong, Phil's prediction is 100 percent correct, and we blame the variants on the president's interpretation of Phil's prediction".

Even though they have endured record-breaking freezing temperatures and an unusually powerful winter storm known as a "bomb cyclone", North Americans should expect winter to stretch on, according to the furry Pennsylvania critter.

But a cautionary word: It's not just Phil.

Phil's prediction comes as north America was hit by record-breaking freezing temperatures over the last few months. He has seen his shadow 103 times compared to not seeing his shadow 18 times.

Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog foresees no early end to winter.

Here's what you need to know about the big day.

Locally, the six weeks following Groundhog Day have gotten warmer in Austin and San Antonio by about two degrees on average, according to Climate Central. The Punxatawny website insists there has only ever been one Phil-throughout all 132 Groundhog Day ceremonies. Given Phil's percentages, this is controversial.

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

Last year, Phil saw his shadow, prompting a continued winter but animal meteorologists across the across the country disagreed. Because of this, Phil spends the year at his house located inside the Punxsutawney Memorial Library.

This will be Phil's 132nd year making his prediction - he's been able to live that long by drinking from the "elixir of life", of course.

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