Groundhog Doesn't See His Shadow, Predicting Early Spring

Zoological Society President William J. Frew speaking during the annual Groundhog Day celebration at the Staten Island Zoo West Brighton

Groundhog Doesn't See His Shadow, Predicting Early Spring

Each year, Americans wait with bated breath to learn from a groundhog if spring will come sooner rather than later.

Perhaps getting a little too ahead of himself, another member of Phil's Inner Circle held up a sign reading, "Get out your swimsuits".

Groundhog Day is upon us again.

"This is the largest crowd I've ever seen on Groundhog Day in the history of Groundhog Day", the emcee said to the audience.

Punxsutawney Phil is quite the celebrity on February 2, but during the rest of the year, he fulfills his job as being an attraction for locals. Using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Punxsutawney Phil is only 3% accurate in predicting his local weather trends.

But there's more to Phil than meets the eye.

It was welcome news all over the country, as a polar vortex brought record-low temperatures to parts of the Midwest this week, and made for freezing temperatures elsewhere as well.

Why is Groundhog Day a thing?

German settlers brought the tradition to the U.S. with an added twist.

Punxsutawney Groundhog Club records date back to 1887. However, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Phil takes "one sip every summer" of a top-secret "elixir of life", which extends his lifespan by seven years.

Regardless of this year's prediction, it may be worth noting that despite his reputation Punxsutawney Phil does not have the strongest track record for accurately predicting the weather.

According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club traces the introduction of the animal to Germany, where people initially using hedgehogs as the hibernating mammal of choice. Overall, the Post says, "Much like how you won your last coin toss, Phil is "right" in these regions because of chance".

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