On a frosty Thursday, Pennsylvania’s most well-known groundhog emerged from his burrow and saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter. At the time Punxsutawney Phil made his forecast, a devastating storm was wreaking havoc in the South, and the Northeast was preparing for a dangerous Arctic blast.
On Thursday, Punxsutawney Phil drew a crowd at Gobbler’s Knob. The members of Phil’s “inner circle” woke him up at dawn to find out if he had seen his shadow, and they say he had. If he spots his shadow, six more weeks of winter are in store. Without him, spring will arrive early.
A group of local dignitaries known as the “inner circle” organizes the events and takes care of Phil’s needs, such as food and shelter. The legend of a furry rodent in German folklore is the inspiration for the annual Punxsutawney celebration. An estimated tens of thousands of people attended this year’s celebrations, which were held in a town located roughly 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
Since records began being kept in 1887, Phil has correctly predicted winter over a hundred times. Organizers claim ten years of data are missing due to a lack of record-keeping. In 2022, it was predicted that winter would last for the same amount of time as it did the year before.
Although Punxsutawney Phil is the most well-known groundhog predictor, he is by no means the only one. During a Thursday event at the Staten Island Zoo in New York City, Staten Island Chuck announced his forecast for an early spring. On Wednesday, as a deadly storm system lashed a wide swath of the southern United States with bands of sleet and snow for the third day in a row, Phil and Chuck made their forecast.
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More than 3,300 flights had to be cancelled, hundreds of thousands of people lost electricity, and schools had to be shut down because of the storm. According to data received by CBS News on Wednesday, at least eight deaths can be attributed to the recent weather in Texas.