PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (LEX 18) — Pennsylvania’s own world-famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil once again predicted an early spring after he did not see his shadow. It's a prediction so rare that it has only happened 20 times in the 134-year history of Groundhog Day and never two years in a row.
Residents of Punxsutawney and visitors from across the nation gathered to see Phil make his highly-anticipated weather prognostication during Pennsylvania’s unique Groundhog Day celebration.
The story of the holiday tradition declares that if the groundhog emerges early on the morning of February 2 and sees his shadow, we will have six more weeks of winter weather. Should he not see his shadow, we will have an early spring. The annual event began in 1886, when a spirited group of groundhog hunters dubbed themselves "The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club” and proclaimed Punxsutawney Phil to be the one and only weather prognosticating groundhog.
"Knowing that the world looks forward to Punxsutawney Phil's prognostication every year brings joy to our hearts," Groundhog Club Inner Circle President Bill Deeley said.
"At only 22 inches and 20 pounds, Phil might be small, but he is still America's favorite furry weather forecaster."
The event now attracts up to 30,000 visitors to Punxsutawney, Jefferson County, located about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter weather 104 times while forecasting an early spring 20 times.