News

Same old Groundhog Day: Phil predicts more winter

Same old Groundhog Day: Phil predicts more winter

NOT THE RESULT WE WERE HOPING FOR: Phil says it'll be six more weeks of winter, not the answer most Americans wanted to hear. Photo: Reuters

By Elizabeth Daley

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – Punxsutawney Phil, a famed groundhog with an even more famous shadow, emerged from his burrow on Sunday and predicted six more weeks of winter, much to the chagrin of those hoping for an early spring.

The rotund rodent exited his subterranean residence at Gobblers Knob in the western Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney around 7:30 a.m. on Groundhog Day.

The fuzzy forecaster made his appearance to the shouts of “groundhog,” as eager spectators waited to see whether the groundhog – as the legend goes – will see his shadow and predict six more weeks of snow and freezing temperatures. If he does not, we can expect an early spring.

This year, Phil predicted that winter will stretch on.

The annual event, made even more popular by the 1993 film comedy “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray, draws thousands of faithful followers from as far away as Australia and Russia.

Phil’s forecast of six more weeks of winter was bittersweet for some in attendance.

“I happen to be a positive person, so I do embrace the here and now and I will enjoy the next six weeks of winter with the best attitude and be happy to be alive and healthy with my good friends,” said Lori Weber, 54, a real estate broker from Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

Others came out early, braving drizzle and low-light, just to experience the event.

Carrie Juvan, 37, of Cleveland, Ohio came with her father.

“We are here having a blast because dad put it on his bucket list. I like snow but I am ready for the spring. He asked me about it months ago and I instantly said yes,” she said.

Groundhogs have been offering weather predictions in the tiny town since 1887. After the movie was released, record crowds numbering as many as 30,000 have been drawn to the event, according to groundhog.org

With a shadow powerful enough to lift spirits – or dash them – Phil has met with Pennsylvania governors and appeared on national television talk shows and New York City’s Times Square JumboTron. In 1986, he even traveled to Washington to meet with President Ronald Reagan, the website said.

Phil’s busy schedule is packed into the months before groundhogs, also called woodchucks, go into hibernation – usually after the first frost, according to NationalGeographic.com.

Hibernation is less like a deep sleep and more like a coma, with the groundhog’s heart rate plunging, blood scarcely flowing, body temperature dropping to a few degrees above freezing and breathing nearly stopped, said groundhog.org.

(Editing by Victoria Cavaliere, Barbara Goldberg, Steve Orlofsky and Rosalind Russell)

Latest News

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: March 30

FILE - In this March 2, 2014 file photo, Bono arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. A New York City doctor says U2 singer Bono suffered multiple fractures and had to have two surgeries after his weekend bicycle accident. Orthopedic trauma surgeon Dr. Dean Lorich says Bono underwent a five-hour surgery on his elbow in which three plates and 18 screws were inserted on Sunday night. Bono had another surgery to repair a fracture to his left pinkie on Monday. Lorich says Bono will need therapy but a full recovery is expected.

A look back at some of Hollywood's most memorable headlines.

in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA

WINA Wins 10 Awards From Associated Press

AP Awards for Year 2014 032815 (LS)

WINA has been named the Outstanding News Operation in Virgina and West Virginia combined.

in Local, Surrounding Counties

Teen Pilot Dies In Orange Plane Crash

Orange County Seal 090212

A 16-year-old student pilot was killed when a small plane crashed Sunday in Orange County.

in Albemarle County, Election, Local

County Officials Prepare For Budget Feedback

Updated
D

Many of Albemarle's elected officials will hear about budgets and taxes this week.

in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, UVA

RWSA Makes Choices Regarding H20 Quality

Updated
Frederick T Mueller J Jones M 032613 CC

Local officials have determined how the water at the Crozet and Scottsville treatment plants will get filtered.