No shadow seen by Pennsylvania groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil this morning. All eyes were on the marmot this morning as he emerged from his home at Gobbler’s Knobb. One of Phil’s handlers, Bob Roberts, spoke on his behalf to a crowd in the popular Pennsylvania groundhog watch spot: "And so ye faithful, there is no shadow to see, an early Spring for you and me.". Spring is set to commence six weeks early, according to legend.
There have only been 16 times that Phil has missed his shadow; 99 other times he has seen it and predicted a longer winter. Punxsutawney Phil has been making predictions since the 1800’s, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.
Groundhog Day has its roots in European tradition. According to German folklore, the groundhog would pop his head out of a burrow, and if it saw its shadow, it would hide for approximately six to eight weeks until it came out again. This was interpreted by observers to signify an early spring. This day, known as Candlemas Day, was celebrated on the second day in February.
While most are hoping for an early spring, the groundhog should stick to stats about his wood chucking expertise. Punxsutawney Phil only has about a 35% accuracy rate when it comes to predicting the weather. Perhaps he can chalk it up to his age – according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Phil has been taking a sip of “special juice” every summer at the annual Groundhog Picnic. While his fellow groundhogs live about eight years, each of Phil’s special sips have afforded him seven additional years. According to Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, this special fellow is over 100 years old.