The story of Punxsutawny Phil and Groundhog Day

Posted at 6:11 PM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 19:38:10-05

It's official.

The warmth of spring weather is finally here. According Punxsutawney Phil, the celebrity groundhog from Pennsylvania, everyone in North America may officially begin celebrating the early arrival of sunshine and blooming flowers.

Since 1887, Phil has shouldered the responsibility of revealing to millions of people whether or not light clothing and spending more time outdoors would be an option for those who live in cold climate areas.

The process is simple. When Phil is released from his den and he sees his own shadow we can expect to six more weeks of winter weather. However, if Phil somehow misses to see his shadow warm weather will replace the remainder of winter season.

The celebration that takes place in Punxsutawny, Pennsylvania for Groundhog Day is massive.

Crowds as large as 40,000 have attended the event that includes live musical performances, special celebrity guests, and handlers dressed in top hats and tuxedos.

Although the tradition of Groundhog Day dates back over a century, Punxsutawny Phil rarely predicts the remainder of the winter season correctly.

Since 2000, the groundhog turned meteorologist has incorrectly predicted weather after Feb. 2, 14 out of 15 times.


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KJRH Chief Meteorologist, Brett Anthony, grew up in Pennsylvania and says the most memorable experience he can recall involving Punxsutawny Phil resulted in shoveling over a foot of snow.    

“When I was in college at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky I remember he said we would have an early spring. He makes that on Groundhog's Day on Feb. 2. Then the first day of spring, March 21, we had a 17-inch snow storm.”

For many, Punxsutawny Phil is a symbol of hope. The popular groundhog helps people who have been scraping windshields, snow blowing driveways, and carrying large coats during the winter season see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Although he rarely predicts the future correctly, Punxsutawny Phil ultimately represents time moving in the right direction.


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