Punxsutawney Phil predicts more wintry weather

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Punxsutawney Phil predicts more wintry weather

During prohibition, Phil threatened to impose 60 more weeks of winter if he wasn't allowed to have the hard stuff.

Since 1887, the groundhog has seen his shadow 103 times, to forecast a longer winter, and not seen it 18 times, to predict an early spring. But no such luck.

Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog rose from his lair on Friday morning to be met by his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter.

The tradition of Groundhog Day dates back almost 200 years, as American settlers from Germany believed a cloudless sky would lead to an extended winter. Weather lore was brought from German-speaking areas, where the badger is viewed as a forecasting animal.

As the Groundhog Day website notes, there's a bit more to the tradition than you might think.

Many might be happy for a shorter winter, but a shorter winter means that plants bloom earlier.

Personally, I don't put much stock in Punxsutawney Phil's forecast.

Punxsutawney's newspaper editor exploited the holiday and began advertising the town's groundhog as the the official "Groundhog Day meteorologist".

For example, Phil saw his shadow a year ago. But in the end it's not, as one critic called it, Phil's now "effortless" aptitude for party tricks that liberates him from Punxsutawney purgatory.

Phil's prediction comes as north America was hit by record-breaking freezing temperatures over the last few months.

The tunnels are.unconfirmed. But however Phil travels to Gobbler's Knob, after he arrives, he awaits his big moment inside a hollowed-out tree stump with a nameplate that says "PHIL".

While the stump on Gobbler's knob is what he's known for, a groundhog of Phil's status demands a greater living space. They are the men who care for the groundhog, and say that Phil speaks "Groundhogese" and drinks a "groundhog punch" that staves off death. They look at clues, such as temperature changes over the tropical and northwest Pacific and how they might affect weather downstream in the United States, and various large-scale swings in air pressure.

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