April 24, 2018
Nation Latest News | Poll Questions | George H.W. Bush | Litchfield Homicide | Schoolhouse Fire

Same old Groundhog Day; Phil’s forecast due in Pennsylvania

Jason Cohn | Reuters
Jason Cohn | Reuters
In this February 2013 file photo, groundhog co-handler Ron Ploucha holds Punxsutawney Phil in front of a record crowd estimated at 35,000 after Phil's annual weather prediction on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa.
By Elizabeth Daley, Reuters

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — Punxsutawney Phil, a famed U.S. groundhog with an even more famous shadow, huddled in his burrow on Sunday as winter lovers and haters waited for him to emerge and signal how much longer frigid weather will last.

The rotund rodent is scheduled to exit his subterranean residence at Gobblers Knob in the western Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney at 7:20 a.m. on Groundhog Day, according to groundhog.org.

If Phil sees his shadow — the legend goes — there will be six more weeks of snow and freezing temperatures. If he does not, we can expect an early spring.

The Sunday forecast from Weather.com is for snow showers and temperatures ranging between 16 and 34 degrees.

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

Groundhogs have been been offering weather predictions in the tiny town since 1887. After the movie was released, record crowds numbering as high as 30,000 have been drawn to the event, the website says.

With a shadow powerful enough to lift spirits — or dash them — Phil has met with Pennsylvania governors and appeared on national television talk shows and New York City’s Times Square JumboTron. In 1986, he even traveled to Washington to meet with President Ronald Reagan, groundhog.org said.

Phil’s busy schedule is packed into the months before groundhogs, also called woodchucks, go into hibernation — usually after the first frost, according to NationalGeographic.com.

Hibernation is less like a deep sleep and more like a coma, with the groundhog’s heart rate plunging, blood scarcely flowing, body temperature dropping to a few degrees above freezing and breathing nearly stopped, said groundhog.org.

Groundhog Day festivities for fans unable to make the trip to Punxsutawney can be seen on www.groundhog.org, and will be carried live on the Pennsylvania network PCN.


Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

You may also like