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Six more weeks of winter predicted on Groundhog Day

Punxsutawney+Phil+is+held+aloft+on+Groundhog+Day+in+2013.
Punxsutawney Phil is held aloft on Groundhog Day in 2013.

Punxsutawney Phil is held aloft on Groundhog Day in 2013.

Punxsutawney Phil is held aloft on Groundhog Day in 2013.

Lindsey Baum, Staff writer

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With modern technologies, weather can be accurately predicted days, or even weeks in advance. However, every person in America knows the most accurate whether predictor: a lovable groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil.

On Feb. 2 of every year, Punxsutawney Phil is observed to determine whether or not he sees his shadow. If he sees his shadow, that means there will be six more weeks of winter, and if not, there will be an early spring. This tradition dates back over a century, beginning in 1887.

Originally, the tradition began as a fusion between German and Native American cultural traditions. Germans celebrated a holiday called Candlemas, which predicted the weather based on whether the sun came out on Feb. 2, while the Native Americans observed animals over a period of time to determine the year’s weather.

Eventually, these two traditions morphed to become Groundhog Day, where a groundhog is observed to determine the course of the weather for the year.

This year, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, at about 8:00 am Eastern Standard Time, Phil was removed from his enclosure and put on a special viewing platform. After a few moments, he made a move: he had seen his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter.

Several other offshoot groundhogs also make predictions on February 2. Staten Island’s groundhog, Staten Island Chuck, did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring for the northeast.

However, everyone knows that the only opinion that matters is Punxsutawney Phil’s. So, folks, keep your heavy jackets and scarves handy, because it is going to be a long winter.

 

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