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. R1234

    Gobblers Knob!

    February 2, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. Gary D.

    OK, this year I know he's screwed up! It hasn't been Winter, all Winter!

    February 2, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. sarah

    6 more weeks of something I haven't seen since last year? This doesn't make any sense!

    February 2, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. Rob

    Gobblers Knob! Sounds like a strip joint in Vegas.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. John john

    What does it mean when Phil deposits a nugget in that guys hands?

    February 2, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  6. Rich in Pittsburgh

    I will take 6 more weeks of this winter. 55 degrees on Feb. 1st.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. bbk713

    That's interesting. I live in Philly, where there hasn't been any winter weather this winter.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. bbk713

    Dinner for some lucky hillbilly out there in hicktown.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. hecep

    That big fat rat has nothing to tell me. This doesn't mean that I don't have an incredibly strong urge to scratch it behind its ears.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. annie

    I think P Phil had a little too much to drink...I live near him and my spring flowers are already popping out of the ground!

    February 2, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joban

    Spring started in January this year.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. elections are rigged

    Six more weeks of spring/fall like conditions in the south east. Farmers Almanac and the abundance of acorns on the ground said it should have been a colder than normal winter, but climate change said something else. Summer is going to be a rough one if this trend continues. Guess I need to adjust my garden planting times to adjust to the new milder "winters".

    February 2, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mr. Black

    More winter? It's going to be 75 degrees here today. When did winter start?

    February 2, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  14. Hooner

    He needs to move here – he wouldn't have seen his shadow thru all the fog

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

      What a lousy news article. How about listing the groundhog's success or accuracy history?

      February 2, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. yOyO


    February 2, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
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