News

Same old Groundhog Day: Phil predicts more winter

Same old Groundhog Day: Phil predicts more winter

NOT THE RESULT WE WERE HOPING FOR: Phil says it'll be six more weeks of winter, not the answer most Americans wanted to hear. Photo: Reuters

By Elizabeth Daley

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – Punxsutawney Phil, a famed groundhog with an even more famous shadow, emerged from his burrow on Sunday and predicted six more weeks of winter, much to the chagrin of those hoping for an early spring.

The rotund rodent exited his subterranean residence at Gobblers Knob in the western Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney around 7:30 a.m. on Groundhog Day.

The fuzzy forecaster made his appearance to the shouts of “groundhog,” as eager spectators waited to see whether the groundhog – as the legend goes – will see his shadow and predict six more weeks of snow and freezing temperatures. If he does not, we can expect an early spring.

This year, Phil predicted that winter will stretch on.

The annual event, made even more popular by the 1993 film comedy “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray, draws thousands of faithful followers from as far away as Australia and Russia.

Phil’s forecast of six more weeks of winter was bittersweet for some in attendance.

“I happen to be a positive person, so I do embrace the here and now and I will enjoy the next six weeks of winter with the best attitude and be happy to be alive and healthy with my good friends,” said Lori Weber, 54, a real estate broker from Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

Others came out early, braving drizzle and low-light, just to experience the event.

Carrie Juvan, 37, of Cleveland, Ohio came with her father.

“We are here having a blast because dad put it on his bucket list. I like snow but I am ready for the spring. He asked me about it months ago and I instantly said yes,” she said.

Groundhogs have been offering weather predictions in the tiny town since 1887. After the movie was released, record crowds numbering as many as 30,000 have been drawn to the event, according to groundhog.org

With a shadow powerful enough to lift spirits – or dash them – Phil has met with Pennsylvania governors and appeared on national television talk shows and New York City’s Times Square JumboTron. In 1986, he even traveled to Washington to meet with President Ronald Reagan, the website said.

Phil’s busy schedule is packed into the months before groundhogs, also called woodchucks, go into hibernation – usually after the first frost, according to NationalGeographic.com.

Hibernation is less like a deep sleep and more like a coma, with the groundhog’s heart rate plunging, blood scarcely flowing, body temperature dropping to a few degrees above freezing and breathing nearly stopped, said groundhog.org.

(Editing by Victoria Cavaliere, Barbara Goldberg, Steve Orlofsky and Rosalind Russell)

Recent Headlines

3 mins ago in Sports

It’s now Professor Selig

Fresh
budselig

The former baseball commissioner has a new gig.

6 mins ago in Sports

Feb. 10, 2016: Wednesday’s Sports Minute

Fresh

Here’s a look at some of today’s big sports headlines. Warriors win 10th straight to go to 47-4…Knicks lose first…

39 mins ago in Sports

Denver streets run orange to welcome Super Bowl-winning Broncos

Fresh
12-overlay-9

Hundreds of thousands of cheering, orange-clad Denver Broncos fans lined the city's streets on Tuesday for a parade and rally to welcome home the team after their upset victory in Super Bowl 50 over the Carolina Panthers.

47 mins ago in National

Trump, Sanders ride U.S. anti-establishment tide to New Hampshire win

Fresh
16-overlay-9

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders coasted to victory on a wave of voter anger in the New Hampshire presidential nominating contest, thrashing traditional U.S. politicians in a display of anti-establishment power.

59 mins ago in National

More Americans quitting jobs as labor market strengthens

Fresh
nowhiring

U.S. job openings surged in December and the number of Americans voluntarily quitting work hit a nine-year high, pointing to labor market strength despite a slowdown in economic growth.