Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow, six more weeks of winter

Punxsutawney Phil

Catherine Sharman--> CC BY 2.0 Anthony Quintano Flickr

Legend has it if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, six more weeks of winter-like weather are expected. Weather forecasts call for a chance of snow Saturday through Tuesday, with snow likely Saturday night, Sunday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

The standing Punxsutawney Groundhog Club president is the only person able to interpret Phil's official language known as "Groundhogese".

There doesn't appear to be much "science" behind either groundhog's predictions, just folklore and fun. Meanwhile, in New York City, Staten Island Chuck declared an early spring is on the way. Romans invading north brought the tradition to Germany, who decided that if the sun appeared, a hedgehog would see its shadow and, in turn, there would be six more weeks of winter.

The tradition goes: If Phil comes out of his burrow in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania-dubbed Gobbler's Knob-and sees his shadow, we get six more weeks of winter. They celebrated Groundhog Day with groundhog cookies, of course, and music. People have been gathering at the same spot ever since. The famous Punxsutawney Phil, and Ohio's own weather-prognosticating rodent Buckeye Chuck, will reluctantly crawl out of their burrows to predict winter's end. Given Phil's percentages, this is controversial.

More news: CAS overturns Russian athletes' lifetime Olympic bans

Even though he's been forecasting since 1887, Phil's track record for the entire country isn't flawless. That's the question that will be on everyone's minds as they awake early Friday, which also happens to be Groundhog Day. Since then, up to 40,000 people flock to the tiny borough annually.

According to, Groundhog Day's origins trace back to Candlemas, a Christian tradition in which clergymen would bless and give out the candles needed to survive the winter cold.

He and his news team get caught in a blizzard and must stay in town overnight.

The town held its first Groundhog Day in the 1800s. Andie MacDowell stars as Murray's love interest and producer Rita.

Latest News