Phil sees shadow

Tradition has it that if the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2nd, there will be 6 more weeks of winter. If not, than an early spring is predicted. The marmot of choice for 2017 is #Punxsutawney Phil (good luck pronouncing that), from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Although he's had some competition, Phil has been in the business for 131 years, as the name includes a long lineage of groundhogs dating back to the early 1800s.

Phil woke up this morning and scurried out of his burrow to a crowd of thousands a little after sunrise on Gobbler's Knob. To awaken the groundhog, the crowd chanted "Phil! Phil! Phil! Phil!" He is then situated on a stump to determine if he can see his shadow, this year he did spot it, informing the world that they are not to take off their coats, gloves, and layers of socks off just yet.

This year's #long winter prediction should not come as a huge surprise for many who've experienced colder than normal conditions across the country and around the globe recently. According to the calendar, winter's official "au due" is March 20th, anyway, so this spring tease is almost always just that.

Fun groundhog facts

To spice up your mid-week and add a little cheer to the chilly and stormy days ahead, here are a few fun facts about the groundhog and his special day:

  • Punxsutawney Phil claims to be the one true weather forecasting groundhog (the holiday tradition was started by the Punxsutawney settlers).
  • #Groundhog Day was started by Germans in Pennsylvania carrying on the tradition of Candlemas Day.
  • "Little" Phil is not so little after all...the average groundhog weighs in at 12 to 15 pounds and is 20 inches long. Phil weighs in at a whopping 20 pounds and is 22 inches long. Holy moley!
  • The average lifespan of a groundhog is 6 to 8 years (but Punxsutawney residents claim to give Phil a special punch, adding seven years on to his life).
  • Groundhogs can hibernate, whistle when scared, and are naturally resistant to plagues that wipe out other animals.
  • Punxsutawney Phil has never been wrong, so go ahead and book that ski trip after all.