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. yOyO

    Still LMAO

    February 2, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. Karaya

    What winter weather? We haven't seen much winter at all this year here in New England, to much disappointment for all the winter sports fans.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Sergey

      I can only speak for Oregon but addiction and menatl health treatment is legislatively mandated to be based on evidence based practices. This means the the practice has been replicated and deemed to be an effective treatment approach based on achieving the same outcomes each time the practice is applied. I do remember the days when this was not so but that is no longer the case. Tax paying citizens can, and should, expect their dollars to be spent on appropriate care and in Oregon treatment providers are required to demonstrate positive outcomes in order to continue being funded via contract and subcontracting.

      July 13, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ziegfeldf

    "More" winter? You call this winter?? Ha!

    –Ken from Boston

    February 2, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. raven

    Yeah, y' know. Gobblers Knob? That lil place next to Deep Neck? I mean Great Throat? Or Great Neck...something like that.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Deep Throat?
      I am, of course, referring to the snitch from Watergate…

      February 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bobby

    I don't know how Phil could ever NOT see his shadow. With TV cameras and lights all over the place, any creature is bound to see his shadow...unless he's facing the source(s) of the light. I think I read last year that, before this became so commercialized, Phil would see his shadow on sunny days. In Pennsylvania at this time of year, sunny days only reveal themselves on bitterly cold days. As the days warm toward spring, cloud cover would not allow Phil to see his shadow. Phil is the Great Meterologist of PA, but he can't do it accurately with all of that infernal artificial lighting. 🙂

    February 2, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. palintwit

    Don't let that rodent anywhere near the Palins. They'll fry him up for dinner.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. kpjenk

    kind of figured more winter would be the prediction. i find it funny that when you look at the past history of the predictions, they do every other year is an early spring and vice versa. last year was early spring, therefore this year is more winter.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mistylynn

    I just knew it!! This has not been a bad winter so far, but I have a feeling (just like Phil) that in February and March we are going to get hammered!! Oh well, Spring isn't tooooo far away. Is it??

    February 2, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. Gary C.

    You may want to try eating a little more fiber like Phil does.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  10. csam18

    Global warming? What global warming?

    February 2, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe T.

      Well then how do you explain two years ago when it was bitterly cold?

      February 2, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. BGMchocolate

    So far it's been pretty mild here in Bruins land. Like they say, it's always calm before the storm.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  12. Buck

    This is one of the biggest wastes of money. We keep complaining a this economy, yet we waste money on this. I would love to know how much is spent on this fiasco.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe T.

      Yes it really hurts the economy. Oh wait, you mean greatly helps the economy of Punxsutawney.
      I highly doubt much money is spent by anybody other than the city of Punsutawney and I doubt it's very much money to have this celebration in such a small town.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Coexist2011

      Get over it already! Life's really not that tough that you'd be totally rid of a sense of humor, or even indifference at the least. Why do we somehow tie every inconsequential event to the economy?

      February 2, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Buck

      Hey Joe . . . what about all the TV coverage, all the gas and jet fuel spent to get to the event, all the paper wasted to print news articles about the event, all the electricity wasted, all the human resources that could be better put to use???????


      February 2, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Enrrique

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      July 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Shut Up Buck

    I would like to know how much time you waste each day saying that.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. JordiLaGorge

    Who the f cares?
    out b4 – You, that's why you read it.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Rockets555

    bummer...maybe I will go rent the movie now

    February 2, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
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