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. pooh2

    "More winter" is the incorrect thing to say. We have not seen any winter so far. I am still hoping to see some, so that I do not have to discard my skiing season pass.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ElKai0

    Kind of hard not to see your shadow with Camera's and lights everywhere.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. KristinaKaye

    Phil's fur is the same color as the beard on the man holding him ... are they related?

    February 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Now *that’s* funny!

      February 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • KristinaKaye

      Banasy ...

      Thank you ... Kristina curtseys for the audience

      February 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darth Cheney

      It's a conspiracy, man! They're all just puppets for the winter coat industry!!!

      February 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ann west

    he's cute🐻

    February 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jason

    LOL, what winter?? I haven't worn a jacket once this year yet.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. cameron2k

    18000 people?? Why are people wasting time and resources on something that is obviously not 100% accurate?

    If a family of 4 spent a gallon of gas at $4/gallon, we've just wasted $18000 dollars for an insignificant event

    February 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • DJCowboy

      So in your world, it's just all work and no play. All that does is make very dull boys

      February 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lora

      lighten up! people are allowed to have a little fun now and then aren't they? even if it's "wasteful"

      February 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • coacoa69

      They are just having fun and for some folks it's tradition. Chill out!

      February 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darth Cheney

      Clearly, you have never been to Punxsutawney. Let's just say there's not quite as much to do there as in New York City.

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

    Not here in NY – 60 degrees yesterday.

    February 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. toppgunnery

    that depends on where the groundhog was standing. If he was standing here where I live, he did not see his shadow cuz it was cloudy, signallling that summer is coming soon!!!

    February 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darth Cheney

      C'mon, you know the only place to make a valid prediction is in Punxsy.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. matt

    doesnt seem like Winter in Chicago. its gonna be 50F degrees today!

    February 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. leeintulsa

    we're still waiting for winter, too

    February 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MarcSK

    Why are people being buzzkills today? It's just a tradition, regardless of it's accuracy.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lindalou

    This has got to be one of the more inane traditions of all time. I guess if it brings in the bucks, you pump it for all it's worth.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. writergal

    Here in northwest Ohio, we haven't had a winter. Temperatures have been in the 30s, 40s, and even 50s pretty much all of December, January – and the forecast for the upcoming week is all upper 30s to upper 40s.

    Normal for this time of year is temperatures in the teens and twenties. We've had maybe 5 days below 20 all winter, and gotten to zero maybe twice.

    The ground never hardened. The grass never went dormant. The rivers and lakes never froze. We have trees budding and flowers coming up.

    Folks around here are smiling and saying they're not complaining, but I'm darned uneasy. This is NOT normal. Nice, but not normal. Nature is seriously unbalanced, and the sad part is, it might be too late to do anything about it. This year people are chuckling about how warm it is – but it's a warning about far more serious problems to come.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChrisP

      I'm in Toledo and I'm expecting a blizzard in March.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JimmyTheDerp

    Don't you need have winter first before you can get more of it? It was 66 degrees in Baltimore yesterday.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AlongTheWay

    So.... we're having a very, very, very warm winter for 99% of the US....and there's "more" winter coming? What a very odd thing to report.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
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