Groundhog predicts an early spring. Don't get too excited, he's usually wrong

Zoological Society President William J. Frew speaking during the annual Groundhog Day celebration at the Staten Island Zoo West Brighton

Phil was not the only groundhog who predicted spring would come early. The groundhog made his official prediction this morning at 7:25.

Legend has it that Phil is the only Pennsylvania groundhog to have predicted winter's length, though the lifespan of a groundhog is around just six years.

During the Prohibition era, Punxsutawney Phil "threatened" to impose 60 more weeks of winter if he wasn't allowed a stiff drink.

The event is celebrated annually in the USA and Canada on February 2 and this year marks the 133rd Groundhog Day in Pennsylvania.

This time of year, "I don't think there's ever been a case where we've seen [such a big] shift in temperatures", Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the Weather Underground, recently told USA Today. This year, Phil the woodchuck peaked his head out and did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring for the U.S.

Even if Phil's prediction turns out to be inaccurate, the weather is expected to warm up during the weekend.

According to Stormfax, Phil's predictions have been correct in 39 percent of the time.

Fans wore custom-made balloon hats as they celebrated the 133rd Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Day has its roots in an early Christian celebration known as Candlemas Day, which marked the point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

German settlers brought the tradition to the USA. with an added twist. The annual event began in 1886, when a spirited group of groundhog hunters dubbed themselves "The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club" and proclaimed Punxsutawney Phil to be the one and only weather prognosticating groundhog.

According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club traces the introduction of the animal to Germany, where people initially using hedgehogs as the hibernating mammal of choice. Some of the events listed on the schedule include chain saw carving demos, a screening of the film Groundhog Day, the "Gobbler's Knob Got Talent" talent show and the Groundhog Ball, to name a few.



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