Pennsylvania groundhog sees six more winter weeks

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - America’s most famous groundhog emerged from his burrow early on Saturday and declared that winter will last another six weeks.

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow shortly before 7:30 a.m. to the cheers of more than 30,000 people from as far away as Alaska and Texas, one of the largest crowds in the 122-year history of the event in the central Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney.

The rodent was taken out of a tree stump on a hill called Gobbler’s Knob, and delivered his prognostication to William Cooper, President of Punxsutawney’s Inner Circle, who organizers say is the only person in the world who can speak “groundhog-ese.”

According to the tradition that may have links with the European festival of Candlemas, if the groundhog sees his shadow, it will mean six more weeks of winter. If not, there will be an early spring.

Cooper read a scroll containing the groundhog’s prediction. It said: “As I look around me, a bright sky I see, and a shadow beside me. Six more weeks of winter it will be.”

Reporting by Jon Hurdle, editing by Vicki Allen