Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter

There will still be six weeks of winter, Punxsutawney Phil predicted as he emerged from his burrow to complete his Groundhog Day chores.

Thousands of people from across the country and other countries gathered at Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania as members of the famous animal’s ‘inner circle’ summoned him from his tree stump at dawn to find out s he had seen his shadow, a message which they said Phil had communicated as a “groundhog”.

After Phil’s prediction was announced, the crowd repeatedly chanted “six more weeks!”

Groundhog Club handler AJ Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil aloft (Barry Reeger/AP)

According to folklore, spring would come early if he didn’t see it.

The event took place virtually last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, depriving the community, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, of a boost from tourists.

It was broadcast live and seen by over 15,000 viewers worldwide at one time. Around 150 cardboard cutouts of fans were there to “watch”.

The annual event has its origins in a German legend about a furry rodent.

According to records dating back to 1887, Phil predicted winter more than 100 times. Ten years were lost because no records were kept, organizers said.

groundhog day
Crowds were back at Gobbler’s Knob for Groundhog Day (Barry Reeger/AP)

Punxsutawney Phil may be the most famous groundhog seer, but he’s certainly not the only one, and one contestant disagreed with his prediction.

Staten Island Chuck of New York is expecting an early spring, according to Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon, who presided over a ceremony broadcast live from Chuck’s home at the Staten Island Zoo.

“He didn’t see his shadow. We will have an early spring,” Mr. McMahon announced.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams did not attend the ceremony, but said in a videotaped message: “Chuck has been very accurate in his predictions since 1981. I think I can speak for all New Yorkers when I say, ‘Chuck, please don’t see your shadow’.”

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