Early Spring is On!
File photograph of Phil, the groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (United States). EFE/FILE/David Maxwell

Early Spring is On!


Washington, Feb 2 (EFE) –

Phil, the renowned rodent meteorologist from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, emerged on Friday from his den after hibernation and failed to spot his shadow, predicting an early spring for Americans.

Hundreds of revelers gathered before dawn on Gobbler’s Knob Hill to cheer and applaud when, at 07:22 (12:22 GMT), the ritual’s officiants read the message that Phil supposedly chose.

“Spring will come early,” declared one of the members of the Groundhog Club, without a shadow of doubt.

The member interpreted the grunts of the animal, looking both surprised and confused.

Since the tradition began in 1887, this is only the 20th time that the groundhog has not seen its shadow.

According to legend, when there is enough sunlight for the animal to see its shadow, winter is six weeks away.

Although tradition stands firm, Phil’s prediction success rate, according to the Stormfax Almanac, is only 36 percent.

According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, the groundhog has seen its shadow 107 times, has not seen it 20 times, and there is no data for about 10 years in the late 19th century.

In 1942, Phil only partially saw his shadow, and in the following year, he did not leave his lair.

Between 2013 and 2023, the groundhog predicted six additional weeks of winter seven times and was only right once.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, which claims that it is the same animal that has been making predictions for 130 years thanks to an “elixir of life,” maintains that Phil has a 100 percent correct record.

The celebration in Punxsutawney, about 110 km northeast of Pittsburgh, originated from a group of hunters who adopted the rodent as a mascot for a ritual every Feb. 2.

The ritual has pagan roots that attribute supernatural powers to animals between the winter equinox and the spring solstice.

The date coincides, in the Christian calendar, with Candlemas Day, in which the faithful believe that a clear sky announces a longer winter and a cloudy day heralds the near end of winter.

Phil is not the only meteorologist groundhog, but he is arguably the most famous.

Other places in North America have their own: General Beau Lee (Atlanta), Wiarton Willie (Ontario, Canada), Sir Walter Wally (Raleigh, North Carolina), Jimmy (Wisconsin), Chuck (New York), Birmingham Bill (Birmingham, Alabama), and Potomac Phil, a stuffed groundhog, in Washington DC. EFE


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