Punxsutawney Phil prepares for a prediction


PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. – It’s Groundhog Day and people are waiting to know if a furry animal in a western Pennsylvania town will predict early spring or six more weeks of winter.

People will gather at Gobbler’s Knob on Thursday, when members of Punxsutawney Phil’s ‘inner circle’ call him down from his tree stump at dawn to see if he’s seen his shadow. According to folklore, when he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If not, spring will come earlier.

The “inner circle” is a group of local dignitaries who are responsible for planning the events and feeding and caring for Phil himself.

The annual Punxsutawney event grew out of a German legend about a furry rodent. Officials in the community – which is about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh – are hoping the usual crowd of 10,000 to 15,000 will turn up for the event, which will also be streamed live.

When Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, there are still six weeks of winter.

According to records dating back to 1887, Phil predicted winter more than 100 times. Ten years were lost because records were not kept, organizers said.

The forecast for 2021 included six more winter weeks.

While Punxsutawney Phil may be the most famous marmot seer, he is certainly not the only one. New York’s Staten Island Chuck will make his prediction Thursday during an event at the Staten Island Zoo.

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