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Punxsutawney Phil's prediction: 6 more weeks of winter

04 February 2018

We compiled the average temperature in Columbia for the six weeks after Groundhog Day and found Punxsutawney's accuracy has been 36% since 1950.

With Groundhog Day upon us, thousands will watch in person and even more will tune in from home to see Punxsutawney Phil make his yearly prediction.

His handlers say he saw his shadow, meaning he'll retreat to his burrow for another six weeks.

The Pennsylvania groundhog isn't the only weather-predicting rodent in this quirky American tradition, but he is the most famous.

But don't completely write off an early taste of Spring this year just yet - there was one dissenter, Staten Island Chuck, who predicted a quick demise of the cold snap of 2018.

Each year during the early morning hours of February 2, a large crowd gathers around a tree stump located on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He has forecast an early spring just 18 times, when his shadow has eluded him, according to records.

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In 1887, when he made his debut as the official groundhog forecaster for the entire country, Phil saw his shadow.

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

What is Groundhog Day? Other states now celebrate their own Groundhog Day, with their own groundhog. When German immigrants moved to Pennsylvania, they brought the tradition with them, replacing a groundhog for the hedgehog.

Groundhogs spend the winter months hibernating, then Phil gets plucked out of his slumber to do a morning's worth of work.

Another groundhog, Balzac Billy, hails from Balzac, Alberta, in Canada.

The custom says that if the groundhog comes out of its hole after its hibernation period and notices its shadow against the sun, it would go back inside the hole which would mean that winter would last another six weeks.

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What is the history of Groundhog Day?

The groundhogs agree! Six more weeks of winter.

Germans used a badger to predict the weather but when the tradition came to the USA, a groundhog was used.

People gathered at Gobbler's Knob at 3 a.m. ET to await the decision announced around 7:25 a.m. ET. People have been gathering at the same spot ever since.

With 132 years of experience (as his top hat-wearing Inner Circle insists), Punxsutawney Phil gave his annual Groundhog Day prognostication.

"Up early this morning". Phil sees his shadow about 85 percent of the time. That's about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. It has a population of less than 6,000 and was founded in 1818.

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Lesser known is Staten Island Chuck who emerges from the Staten Island Zoo every year.

Punxsutawney Phil's prediction: 6 more weeks of winter