Groundhog predicts more winter for a country that just got a dose of it

(Reuters) – Pennsylvania’s famous groundhog emerged from his tree stump on Tuesday to predict another six weeks of winter, just as the northeastern United States got blanketed with its second day of snow.

After a year-long pandemic in which every day seemed like the one before, not unlike the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day,” Punxsutawney Phil emerged at dawn, saw his shadow and decided to wait it out for another six weeks, his handlers said.

“Now, when I turn to see, there’s a perfect shadow cast of me, six more weeks of winter there will be,” said Jeff Lundy, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, the groundhog’s official interpreter.

Every Feb. 2 is known as Groundhog Day but the club’s annual ritual this year in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania – about 75 miles (121 km) northeast of Pittsburgh – was different than the 134 that came before because the thousands of spectators that usually attend were replaced by cardboard cutouts.

“Normally, there are thousands of you here with us helping us celebrate,” said Dan McGinley, aka Moonshine, one of the top-hatted and face-masked club members officiating at a spectacle that was held virtually this year.

“This year, a few of you did manage to sneak in – in replica form,” said McGinley. “Your avatars are our crowd. You look great.”

The groundhog’s winter prediction came amid more blizzard conditions following a major storm that had already dropped more than a foot of snow across the northeastern United States by Monday night and killed an elderly woman in Pennsylvania.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Susan Fenton)

Groundhog Phil predicts more cold weather, Chuck says spring is coming

Groundhog co-handler A.J. Derume holds Punxsutawney Phil at Gobbler's Knob on the 132nd Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, U.S. February 2, 2018. REUTERS/Alan Free

By Gina Cherelus

(Reuters) – Punxsutawney Phil, the weather-forecasting groundhog, emerged from his burrow in Pennsylvania on Friday, saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter, despite his rival Staten Island Chuck in New York predicting an early spring.

Phil’s prognostication, which was delivered at about 7:20 am EST, was met with a mix of cheers and groans from thousands of revelers on Friday who gathered in the town of Punxsutawney about 80 miles (120 km) northeast of Pittsburgh.

Even though they have endured record-breaking freezing temperatures and an unusually powerful winter storm known as a “bomb cyclone,” North Americans should expect winter to stretch on, according to the furry Pennsylvania critter.

But another celebrated groundhog, Chuck in the New York City borough of Staten Island, did not see his shadow on Friday and instead predicted an early spring. Chuck is known for biting then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the ceremony in 2009.

According to legend, if the groundhog emerges from his dwelling and sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter should be expected. But if there is no shadow, spring will make an early arrival.

Groundhogs, portly animals belonging to the squirrel family, have been offering weather predictions in Punxsutawney, which has a population of about 6,000 people, since 1887.

The town’s annual Groundhog Day event, made more popular by the 1993 comedy film “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray, draws people from as far away as Australia and Russia. This year was the 132nd ceremony.

Canada has its own share of weather-forecasting mascots, including Wiarton Willie, an albino groundhog who is also due to make his spring prediction on Friday in southern Ontario.

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler and Bill Trott)

Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow, foresees long North American winter

Groundhog Club President Bill Deeley listens to Punxsutawney Phil for his forecast while handler Ron Ploucha holds him at Gobbler's Knob on the 131st Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, U.S. February 2, 2017.

By Laila Kearney

(Reuters) – Punxsutawney Phil, the famous Pennsylvania groundhog that can supposedly forecast when the North American winter will end, dashed hopes for an early spring on Thursday when he emerged from his tree stump and saw his squirmy shadow.

Each year on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, thousands of revelers gather in the town of Punxsutawney, about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, to witness a groundhog that has been designated as “Phil” make his prediction.

As legend has it, if the little rodent sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, frigid and blustery weather will continue for six weeks. If it is cloudy and no shadow appears, the onset of spring is near.

“It don’t look good guys,” Bill Deeley, president of The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, told the crowd early on Thursday after pulling Phil from his lair at Gobbler’s Knob. “Ladies and gentlemen, he has made his prediction.”

The portly animal squirmed and bared his tiny teeth as his audience cheered. One woman shouted, “We love you, Phil!”

As Phil appeared to gnaw on the glove of his handler, a presenter wearing a top-hat and red bow tie read the weather outlook: “My faithful followers, I clearly see, a perfect clear shadow of me. Six more weeks of winter it shall be.”

Groundhogs have been offering weather predictions in the tiny Punxsutawney since 1887.

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

(Editing by Frances Kerry)