Same old Groundhog Day; Phil predicts more winter

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pennsylvania Sun Feb 2, 2014 12:53pm EST

1 of 2. Famed weather prognosticating groundhog Punxsutawney Phil has only one eye open as he prepares to make his annual prediction on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, on the 127th Groundhog Day, February 2, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Cohn

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PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Punxsutawney Phil, a famed U.S. groundhog with an even more famous shadow, emerged from his burrow on Sunday and predicted six more weeks of winter, much to the chagrin of those hoping for an early spring.

The rotund rodent exited his subterranean residence at Gobblers Knob in the western Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney around 7:30 a.m. on Groundhog Day.

The fuzzy forecaster made his appearance to the shouts of "groundhog," as eager spectators waited to see whether the groundhog - as the legend goes - would see his shadow and predict six more weeks of snow and freezing temperatures. If not, North Americans can expect an early spring.

This year, Phil predicted that winter will stretch on.

The annual Groundhog Day event, made 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.

Phil's forecast of six more weeks of winter was bittersweet for some in attendance.

"I happen to be a positive person, so I do embrace the here and now and I will enjoy the next six weeks of winter with the best attitude and be happy to be alive and healthy with my good friends," said Lori Weber, 54, a real estate broker from Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

Others came out early, braving drizzle and low-light, just to experience the event.

Carrie Juvan, 37, of Cleveland, Ohio came with her father.

"We are here having a blast because dad put it on his bucket list. I like snow but I am ready for the spring. He asked me about it months ago and I instantly said yes," she said.


Phil's forecast even reached the White House, where President Barack Obama's official Twitter account reminded Americans to sign up for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

"#PunxsutawneyPhil says there's more winter ahead—make sure you get covered," the tweet said.

Phil's New York counterpart, Staten Island Chuck, also saw his shadow on Sunday, forecasting another six weeks of winter.

New York City's new mayor, Bill de Blasio, was on hand for the event but wasn't able to keep a firm grip on the groundhog, who squirmed free of the mayor's gloved hands - a protective measure used since Chuck bit former mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2009.

Chuck fell to the ground, eliciting a few gasps from the crowd, but he was quickly recovered by his handler.

Groundhogs have been offering weather predictions in the tiny Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney since 1887. After the movie was released, record crowds numbering as many as 30,000 have been drawn to the event, according to

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, the website 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

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

(Editing by Victoria Cavaliere, Barbara Goldberg, Steve Orlofsky and Rosalind Russell)

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Comments (4)
evisum wrote:
A DIFFERENT GROUNDHOG DAY STORY — 1787, the most eventful legislative year in United States history, began with only eight states assembling to form the Articles Of Federation Government, the United States in Congress Assembled (USCA), in New York City. The delegates, after much debate, turned to Major-General Arthur St. Clair, who freed the Third USCA from mutineers in Philadelphia in 1783. Aside from Revolutionary War military experience, St. Clair also had close personal ties to former Commander-in-Chief George Washington. These were qualities the Seventh USCA Delegates deemed essential to lead the nation in this time of civilian crisis. The five states that had no representation, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, were notified the other eight States elected Arthur St. Clair President by Charles Thomson on February 2, 1787.

Little did these states realize that February 2, 1787 would usher in a Presidency, USCA and Philadelphia Convention (Constitutional Convention) that would transform rebellion and their crumbling Perpetual Union into a prosperous nation committed to citizen liberty and free enterprise. Also this Congress would pass the Northwest Ordinance, which set up the mechanism for creating States (Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin were all part of the Northwest Territory) and include the first federal law making slavery illegal in the territory along with the law gifting federal lands to establish municipalities, colleges, libraries, and public institutions. In October 1787, Congress would appoint President St. Clair as the Northwest Territory’s first governor, who served until the Statehood of Ohio in 1803. Today this date, marking the beginning of the most effective US Congress and Presidency in history, is forgotten. Instead President St. Clair’s Western Pennsylvania’s home county celebrates February 2nd, since 1841, by anxiously awaiting Punxsutawney Phil’s emergence from a “burrow” to see or not to see his shadow. Few, if any, realize the importance of “Ground Hog Day” in U.S. Founding history, on which the Seventh unicameral Articles of Confederation’s Congress finally convened in the chaos of a collapsing federal government, elected Arthur St. Clair, President of the United States in Congress Assembled and concluded with sending our current US Constitution to the 13 Original States for its ultimate ratification and implementation saving the Perpetual Union of the United States of America. . —

Feb 02, 2014 2:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
gregbrew56 wrote:
Check it out! Phil’s just joshing us…the photographer caught him mid-wink!

Feb 02, 2014 2:36pm EST  --  Report as abuse
ammy005 wrote:

Feb 02, 2014 4:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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