Groundhog Day: 6 more weeks of winter

Groundhog Club co-handler Ron Ploucha (R) holds Punsxutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog as groundhog club vice president Jeff Lundy (L) reads his prediction during the Groundhog Day celebration at Gobblers Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2, 2017. Phil saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. Photo by David Maxwell/EPA

Feb. 2 (UPI) — Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most influential and powerful weatherman, on Wednesday emerged from his hole Punxsutawney, Pa., and saw his shadow on Groundhog Day. Prepare for six more weeks of winter.

Punxsutawney Phil — “The Prognosticator of Prognosticators” — emerged shortly after 7 a.m. at Gobbler’s Knob in the Pennsylvania Wilds to make his prediction on the 131st annual Groundhog Day.

“My faithful followers, I clearly see a perfect, clear shadow of me. Six more weeks of winter it shall be!” a human member of the Groundhog Day’s Inner Circle said while reading aloud Punxsutawney Phil’s written forecast.

More than 20,000 people were expected to attend the festival-like ceremony. An Inner Circle official said it was one of the largest gatherings ever for the event.

As far as accuracy goes, the StormFax Weather Almanac said that since the groundhog began predicting the length of winter in 1887, Phil has been right about 39 percent of the time.

Groundhog Day is not without controversy. In 2015, New Hampshire police said they issued an arrest warrant for Punxsutawney Phil for failing to disclose the extent of the lasting winter — also warning civilians that America’s most famous groundhog was “armed and dangerous.”

In 130 years, Punxsutawney Phil has not seen his shadow 17 times. Last year, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow and forecast an early spring.

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