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. smartaz

    What a waste of time.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. CJP

    I might be losing my mind but this is the third morning in a row that I have woken up to find out that Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow and that we have three more weeks of winter! What's going on???

    February 2, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Megan


      February 2, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe T.

      Then put your little hand in mine. There ain't no hill or mountain we can't climb...

      February 2, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Church of Suicidal

      Is it too early for flapjacks?

      February 2, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |

    Any prediction on when the GOP/teabag house is going to produce their first American job? Waiting patiently for their shadow! Better yet, I wish they never ever show themselves again!

    February 2, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. Alex

    That little guy must be messed up by global warming and pollution so I am not sure if he's getting right any more.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. RAGE Against the Machine

    They should end the exploitation of the groundhog at this sad event. If tis going to be another 3 weeks of winter. Turn that oversized rat into a furcoat to keep me warm!!!

    February 2, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Enahs

      Maybe if you actually READ the article, you can see that it says nowhere about "3 more weeks of winter".

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

      February 2, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • RAGE Against the Machine

      3 weeks, 6 weeks. I want a damn coat from that rat!

      February 2, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. mike k.

    Come to Savannah GA it's been 70's and sunny all week! Eat it, pukes!

    February 2, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
    • JPX

      That might be true but you have to live in Georgia to enjoy it. I'd rather hang myself.

      February 2, 2012 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean


      GA isn't the only state enjoying the nice weather. lol

      February 2, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Lucille

    No wonder he saw his shadow. With all of the bright lights around his burrow, he's bound to see it. What's all of the celebration for anyway, winter is going to end when Mother Nature wants it too, regardless of Phil or no Phil.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeCool

      It's just a fun tradition, stop being a buzzkill

      February 2, 2012 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. banasy ©

    Look at it this way:
    Six more weeks of Winter?
    Or six more weeks until Spring?

    February 2, 2012 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. Marti

    The most interesting part of the article was where it described Inner Circle Presidency... What is this secret society and how are they control the weather thru wildlife?!?!?

    February 2, 2012 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. JPX

    How stupid. I live in New England and it was 61 degrees yesterday. We haven't had a winter this year. Who are these weirdos who carry on this pointless tradition? It seems to me that some people have way too much time on their hands.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      There will be no talking down about our beloved Phil on this page.

      You must be a republican and full of envy or that a democract? that you don't have your own furry prognosticator

      Have a great day!

      February 2, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      The same weirdo’s that continue the other supersti.tious traditions.

      >Don’t take advice from zombies; they just want to get into your head.

      February 2, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
    • tomko44

      He is almost always wrong because of his "Inner Council" making the predictions!

      February 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RinosRwinos

    I am a ground hog and saw my shadow so we are getting six more weeks of winter. Go Punxsutawney Phil! Let's' hope we don't get six more weeks of GOP primaries.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |

    Who wants to live in backward trailor trash confederate Georgia? Got to be insane!

    February 2, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joseph

    With all of the artificial lighting set up at this fraud of an event,he probably saw four shadows.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  14. CAsch

    So this means six more weeks of 80 degree weather in Florida, then it goes up to the 90's.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. realtalker1

    Yeah right. Maybe in Pennsylvania. But where I'm from we haven't even had a freeze yet this year. Which is way out of whack. We ussually have highs in the 30's for much of february. The weather reports highs in the 70s for the next 10 days and no changes expected beyond that. I've already seen some trees blooming. This is the dumbest groundhog I've ever heard of. I'm planting my vegetables next week.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      If it was cloudy how could he see his shadow it had to have been from lights does that still count and what does pa. have to do with the rest of the country and also the last time i checked the calender its 6 weeks till spring anyhow.

      February 2, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave in DC

      Don't forget the mushrooms,
      I understand with a little red wine and shallots, it makes a great sauce for roasted groundhog...

      February 2, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
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