Groundhog Day: Punxsutawny Phil predicts an early spring

Rodent forecaster declared the official meteorologist of Pennsylvania

Punxsutawney Phil, now Pennsylvania's official meteorologist, predicted an early spring for 2024. AP
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Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania's weather-forecasting rodent, predicted an early spring for this year after failing to see his own shadow.

“What this weather did not provide is a shadow or reason to hide. Glad tidings on this Groundhog Day,” one of Phil's handlers read from a scroll in Pennsylvania

“An early spring is on the way.”

Phil did not see his shadow after he emerged from his burrow. According to town folklore, failing to see his shadow forecasts an early spring. If he does, it signals an additional six weeks of winter.

Thousands of revellers gather at the ceremony, held at Gobbler's Knob in Phil's namesake town of Punxsutawney, to partake in the festivities.

The ceremony was made even more popular by the 1993 Bill Murray film Groundhog Day.

The rodent, which typically predicts an extended winter, has a rather checkered history of failed predictions. Last year, a federal agency found him to be correct only 40 per cent of the time.

Ahead of Friday's ceremony, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro announced the rodent as the US state's official meteorologist.

“Punxsutawney is the centre of the universe right now and I love that you’re all here,” he told revellers.

On days that do not fall on Groundhog Day, Phil lives in a customised burrow connected to the town park and Punxsutawney Memorial Library.

The first official trek to Gobbler's Knob was made in 1887, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

Updated: February 02, 2024, 12:59 PM