Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, emerged from his burrow on a cold Thursday morning and seeing his shadow, declared there would be six more weeks of winter. Punxsutawney Phil made the prediction as a deadly storm wreaked the South and the Northeast was bracing for a dangerous Arctic blast.
People gathered at Gobbler’s Knob as members of Punxsutawney Phil’s “inner circle” summoned him from his tree stump at Thursday dawn to see if he can see his shadow – and he did. According to legend, if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, then here comes spring.
The “inner circle” comprises a group of local dignitaries who have the responsibility for feeding and caring for Phil and also planning the events.
The annual event in Punxsutawney originated from a German legend about a furry rodent, and this year’s event saw thousands of people to the yearly festivities.
According to history, Phil has accurately predicted winter more than 100 times. According to the organizers, ten years were lost because no records were kept.
While Punxsutawney Phil may be the most famous groundhog seer ever to live, he’s certainly not the only one. New York City’s Staten Island Chuck made his prediction for an early spring during an event at the Staten Island Zoo.
Phil and Chuck made their predictions as a deadly storm system lashed a large swath of the southern U.S. with bands of sleet and snow for a third day on Wednesday. The storm left over 3,300 flights canceled, hundreds of thousands without power, forced school closures, and made driving dangerous.
According to reports, at least eight weather-related deaths have been confirmed in Texas.