One element of Donald Trump’s administration is of him putting a sort of gag order on certain government agencies that communicate openly on social media, like the National Parks Service. The NPS has usually reported on status and figures relating to climate change, a phenomenon Trump is want to disavow. Then the President has also tasked the NPS with trying to prove the massive size of the crowd in his Inauguration. If you’re wondering where this all leads, then I’ll tell you that it’s setting up for a more festive report on a particular famous meteorologist that predicts the occurrence of only one weather phenomenon, and only on a particular day of the year.

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Yes, Thursday, February 2 has passed, and one groundhog in Pennsylvania has made a prediction that even Trump is not bothering to contest: more winter in store.

Punxsutawney Phil

#Groundhog Day is celebrated in the US and several other countries, the latter perhaps due to the popularity of the similarly named 1993 movie starring Bill Murray. The folk superstition of a groundhog checking on February 2 whether he can see its shadow on the ground – a sign of six more weeks of winter – or not to determine the coming of spring, has been active since the 1880s around the borough of Punxsutawney in Jefferson County, PA. Here a particular celebrity groundhog named Phil has made predictions provided to a local gentlemen’s club to disseminate for the public, though certainly there has been a succession of #punxsutawney phils over the century and the whole ceremony works on a great deal of suspending one’s disbelief.

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Anyway, this year as the formula goes the groundhog Phil prognosticated just this Thursday and communicated its findings to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle, who read it out loud to a crowd gathered at the groundhog’s ceremonial burrow of Gobbler’s Knob while the furry forecaster is carried in a club member’s arms for the audience’s photo-op benefit. To wit, Phil has seen a “perfect shadow of me; six more weeks of winter there will be” for this year. It was Phil’s 131st straight prediction and news to his more frequently given outcome of a longer winter.

Other winter-predicting groundhogs

Now mind, Punxsutawney Phil isn’t the only groundhog in the business, even if he's the most famous by virtue of the film. Aside from him, 21 other local celebrity groundhogs are “consulted” in their respective corners of the United States for Groundhog Day. And that doesn’t include the ones that serve as the winter-spring Oracle in other countries. All in all about 30 different groundhogs worldwide gave their predictions on the weather for early 2017, and the divide between predictions of early spring and longer winter seems fairly even.