Groundhog Day: Did Punxsutawney Phil See His Shadow? (POLL)

Six more weeks of winter or an early spring? Read all about Phil and take our poll.

The results are in from Punxsutawney, Pa., and Phil the groundhog saw his shadow—so if his prediction holds, we could be in for six more weeks of winter.

Phil's tweet this morning: A terrifying shadow = 6 more weeks of winter!

That's usually bad news, but with so few truly cold days this year—temperatures reached 60 degrees yesterday in some nearby towns—it might be exactly what those who enjoy winter sports and recreation are hoping for. Indeed, continued Phil, No complaining. We haven’t even had winter yet.

This year's prediction aside, how did such an unassuming creature, whose yearly prediction is accurate only 39 percent of the time, become the center of such an enduring tradition? As it turns out, Phil and his counterparts have been predicting the weather for quite some time—since 1887, according to an article in the Huffington Post. And though the tradition’s origins are unclear, it is believed to have come from ancient European weather lore in which a badger or sacred bear predicted the weather. The tradition also has religious origins, as it shares similarities with Candlemas Day, which is also on Feb. 2.

But that’s not the whole story of Phil, his lore or his longevity—not even close. Other facts of note, gathered from various resources, include:

  • There’s only one Phil. Although groundhogs live for around 10 years in captivity, Phil loyalists insist there has only been one Punxsutawney Phil since his first appearance in the 1880s. According to the official website of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Phil is given a sip of special groundhog punch every year, which extends his life and allows him to keep making predictions. (csmonitor.com)
  • The average groundhog is 20 inches long and normally weighs from 12 to 15 pounds. Punxsutawney Phil weighs about 20 pounds and is 22 inches long. (groundhog.org)
  • In the years following the release of the film Groundhog Day, crowds numbering as high as 30,000 have visited Gobbler's Knob, the tiny hill in Punxsutawney where the yearly ceremony takes place. (Huffington Post)
  • He may be older than your grandpa’s grandpa, but Phil has adapted with the times. He broke telecommunications ground for rodents in 2010 by allowing people to sign up for a text message notification of his prediction and also updates his Facebook status and tweets his prediction, as he did this morning. (csmonitor.com)

Now back to today's prediction. What did you think? Take our poll and let us know.

April McCaulley February 02, 2012 at 02:07 PM
I'm in Louisville Kentucky. I didn't know that it was winter. Thought it was still Summer. I checked to see if Phil saw his shadow to find if we were having winter this year :p Thanks Phil! Hope you are right. I would really like to go sledding with the kids and use those new sleds Santa got them for Christmas!
Abby Jordan (Editor) February 02, 2012 at 02:46 PM
April, it's been like spring/summer here in Mass. lately too! I'm hoping for snow myself. And I wonder if the warm temps and soggy ground mean more mosquitos this summer?
Elizabeth S. Leaver February 02, 2012 at 02:54 PM
I agree, after last year I am shocked to find myself wishing for snow. But just a few inches--not to the top of our lamppost, as it was for weeks last winter.
Grahame Turner February 02, 2012 at 03:47 PM
My car tells me it was 60 yesterday. I was running some errands, and had to stop and ask myself "wait, why am I wearing my coat?"
joanne February 02, 2012 at 07:34 PM
I'm still waiting for winter!!! I want to go sledding!
Kirsten Vandijk February 03, 2012 at 11:46 AM
No snow to melt in the spring means that we could be in for water bans as early as May if the famed April showers don't make an appearance.....
joanne s February 01, 2013 at 11:02 PM
Oh no it's crazy in Texas so we are not use to very cold weather!
M C Stringfellow February 01, 2013 at 11:44 PM
If we do not get a normal winter in Georgia (Average Feb temps are in the 40's days, 30's nights). I will be fighting all sorts of bugs in large numbers all spring and summer. Last years crop of bugs ruined my garden.
stephanie baker February 03, 2013 at 02:34 AM
I live in Arizona, and i pray for winter. The summers here are unbearable usually averaging 118 degrees plus.


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