February 2nd, 2012
07:34 AM ET

More winter weather, Punxsutawney Phil predicts

[Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET] If you were hoping to be done with winter, Punxsutawney Phil had some bad news for you on Thursday.

After the groundhog was summoned from his burrow at the Gobbler's Knob hill in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, observers proclaimed that "the prognosticator of all prognosticators" had seen his shadow.

"Many shadows do I see, six more weeks of winter it must be," a member of Phil's "Inner Circle" said as a crowd erupted in boos.

The tradition goes back to medieval times when there was a superstition that all hibernating animals emerged from their caves and dens to check the weather on Candlemas, which is halfway between the winter solstice in December and the vernal equinox in March. If the animals saw their shadows, winter would go on for another six weeks, and they could go back to sleep, according to the tradition.

But if there was no shadow, spring would come early, according to the tradition.

Not every groundhog agreed with Phil on Thursday. At New York's Staten Island Zoo, for example, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told several hundred observers that Staten Island Chuck didn't see his shadow, and that therefore an early spring was on its way.

The Staten Island event has happened for 31 years. Punxsutawney's celebration goes back 126 years.

Up to 18,000 people attended the Punxsutawney event Thursday, CNN affiliate WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh reported. The annual celebration 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, starting with various events the weekend before Groundhog Day, provides a sizable boost to the local economy. As many as 30,000 visitors come to town for the event on any given year, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office's Quinn Bryner said.

The 2,600 rooms available for guests in Jefferson County and surrounding counties usually sell out, Bryner said. And the event adds $1 million to the area each year, according to the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce.

Much of the United States has seen an unseasonably warm winter, so Phil's prediction may come as a surprise to some.

How much stock would you put in this year's prognostication?

Here's what Phil indicated in the last few years, according to Groundhog.org:

2011: "No shadow, spring is near!"

2010: "Phil saw his shadow and told his prediction to new Inner Circle President Bill Deeley."

2009: "Phil saw his shadow and Inner Circle President Bill Cooper completed his final interpretation and retired at Gobbler's Knob. It was 7:26 a.m."

2008: "It was 29 degrees. In front of one of the largest crowds ever at Gobbler's."

soundoff (176 Responses)
  1. Wayne

    Punxsutawney Phil, Wives and computers are never wrong.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • StaceyJo

      LOL Wayne!

      February 2, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe T.

      You forgot to add politicians and teenage children into that mix.

      February 2, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. Tman

    How is it unemployment is at 9% and this useless rat still has a job?

    February 2, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Affirmative action.

      February 2, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Humanist5683

      He makes 268 million a year, has a golden parachute, and his burrow looks like Trump’s NY apartment; He’s headed down to hang out with his GOP cronies right now, on a private plane he’s using as a corporate write off.

      February 2, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. Wayne

    He gets up in the morning the 9% stay in bed.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      I wonder if he knows how to use the reply button.

      February 2, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. IHopper

    somebody shoot the rat so this bad scene, play out year after year, will end.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Thinker

      hmm... I bet they have gone through more than one 'P Phil' since the tradition started. They might have another one trained and ready to go right now!

      February 2, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kevin

    Phil could be very off the mark this year! Here in the NYC area, it was 60 yesterday, very few cold days and this morning, I'm hearing birds outside that I normally don't hear for about another month and a half.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mark in PA

    What winter?
    It was 61 degrees yesterday here in PA.
    There were moths fluttering around our door light!
    Some of the tulips are tipping.
    Punxsutawney Phil is trippin'.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sara

    I don't know about his weather predictions, but that is one adorable critter. 🙂

    February 2, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. Peter Jones

    I think it is time to retire the silly groundhog and just continue with just the party.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. Beaver

    Please someone retire that groundhog and let's end this nonsense.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joe T.

    Has anybody told Phil about global warming yet?

    February 2, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  11. Chet

    Gobblers knob?

    February 2, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe T.

      Yes that is the name of the place... hehe

      February 2, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      I wasn’t going to comment on that….LMAO!

      February 2, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joe T.

    Why are people commenting here so against Groundhog Day? Why does it bother you so much? It brings it some much needed tourism to Punxsutawney. If you don't like it, you don't have to go to Punxsutawney or read news stories about it or watch it on the news. Let the people have their fun.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Thinker

      Because they are unhappy people who believe the only thing in life that matters is making money. Or they are jealous of others' happiness.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. Portland tony

    Fun stuff.....Didn't Bill Murray have a say in this?

    February 2, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe T.

      No, but Ned Ryerson did. I believe his words were, "Bing!"

      February 2, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. banasy ©

    It’s a cute and harmless tradition…
    If people are getting their weather information from a rodent, they have far bigger problems…
    I still like the name “Gobbler’s Knob

    February 2, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO ) "Яight Wing Иutcase"

    Obama? Why can't he look at his shadow?

    February 2, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe T.

      Yes, thank you for those insightful words. Rush Limbaugh will be sending over a contract for you to write talking points for him.

      February 2, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO ) "Яight Wing Иutcase"

      @Joe T.

      Rush couldn't afford me. I wouldn't get paid half of what I'm worth.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • bbk713

      Because he's not a rodent. On the other hand, when Phil dies You can move to Punxutawney and take his place.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Daydreamer

      Another hate filled life. Congratulations, Nutcase.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • ED49

      IIf Obama comes out of the white house and sees his shadow, we have one more year of unemployment!

      February 2, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • hecep

      Why, you ask? Because he's too busy doing his job AND watching the repubtards slurp up the GOP kool-aid.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • hecep

      Whatever your alleged financial worth, Jeff Frank, you're still an ignorant racist.

      February 2, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Nice work throwing out a blind accusation, hecep. I saw nothing racist in Jeff's comment. You are the hateful, vindictive swine here.

      February 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • hecep

      @Bombo: Everyone else here knows exactly what Frank the Racist was talking about. You are just too stupid and insular to see it. God, I'm glad that I'm not you!

      February 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
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