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. Marge

    Isn't it odd it is six more weeks til spring and Old Phil tells us it will be six more weeks til spring. What a prophet.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cabal

    Oof, another 6 weeks of high 70s and low 80s? That is rough.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Hasher Iva

      I'm with you. I live in Florida and an additional 6 weeks of mid 70s and sunshine is just fine with me.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  3. RobCM

    How often is this over size squirrel correct within the area where he lives?

    February 2, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • StClown

      Given that the vernal equinox is just a few days more than six weeks away, I'd say he's doing about as well any other long-term weather forecaster. It's just a hunch, though.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • jeffro

      My dog saw his turd and predicted 6 more weeks of Republican primaries

      February 2, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sonny and Cher

    I got you babe
    I got you babe

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

      Rise and shine campers, it's cooooold out there.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. djmuth

    "More Winter?" I guess that's ok since it really hasn't even come yet.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. L.A. Law

    6 more weeks of winter? March 21 is spring. Do the math. Sheesh! Shadow or not. :-/

    February 2, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • NTaylorn

      Actually March 20th this year...

      February 2, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • imme

      i totally agree.. sll these people getting upset about more winder.. no matter if he sees his shadow or not its still march for spring... get used to it. umless there is a dramatic shift in the poles.. winter and the snow will always be here till at least the end of april like it has for years.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • sluggo

      Guess YOU need to do the math...............sheesh

      February 2, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. BOMBO ©

    Success rate is roughly 50/50. The same as flipping a coin. But apparently this is more "fun".

    February 2, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bob

    Phil is high. He can't see the evidence in front of his beady little eyes. Staten Island Chuck–there's a varmint firmly grounded in reality.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. bbstacker7072

    I hate to see that because now more yankees will come to NC.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. alateos

    Groundhog day is still my all-time favorite movie!

    February 2, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. charles Beale

    We have at least 2 groundhog predicters in Canada, Wiarton Willie in Ontario didn't see his shadow and so spring is just around the corner for us here 'up North'.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. Charles

    I would like to see someone replace Phil with a wild groundhog. That would make this event much more fun as he is pulled out of his hole.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. Carrie

    The sun hadn't even risen at the time they say he saw his shadow. What a crock of s#t

    February 2, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dude

    I heard from a reliable source that Phil lost his eyesight last year due to cataracts.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. jeffro

    My dog saw his poop and predicted 6 more weeks of Republican primaries

    February 2, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • palintwit

      I saw my poop and predicted Fox news would renew Sarah Palin's contract.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
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