Published: Sun, February 04, 2018
Health Care | By Alice Shelton

Groundhog Day: Phil sees shadow; 6 more weeks of winter

Groundhog Day: Phil sees shadow; 6 more weeks of winter

Punxsutawney Phil is back, and this year, he's predicting we're in for more cold.

Anyone originally from a frigid winter state knows all about the fuss over Groundhog Day, the annual February 2 ritual. But if it does, folklore says it means another six weeks of winter.

Since 2010, Phil has only predicted an early arrival of spring three times.

That's his typical prediction: It's only happened more than 100 other times in the 132-year history of the tradition.

The storm will hit Minneapolis with snow on Saturday, but skies should clear by Sunday, when the city will host the Super Bowl. And according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, his opinion is the only one that matters.

We had a warm winter season in 2017, making it that Punxsutawney Phil's forecast of six more weeks of winter to be false.

Groundhogs, portly rodents belonging to the squirrel family, have been offering weather predictions in the tiny town since 1887.

Would you believe an animal's prediction for the weather? Mayor de Blasio famously dropped the Staten Island groundhog during the 2014 ceremony.

Canada has had its own share of weather-forecasting mascots, including Wiarton Willie, an albino groundhog who is also due to make his spring prediction on Friday in southern Ontario.

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The first official Groundhog Day at Gobbler's Knob was held in 1887.

But it actually started long before the movie.

Phil's proclamation was translated by the president of the Inner Circle - the only person who understands the "Groundhogese" language - according to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

"We are still more than 3.5" behind in rainfall for the month, so any rain will be a big help over the next couple of weeks!

I guess the feast was more of a Roman Catholic tradition that America seems to have lost to the passing of time, or it was just surpassed in the progress of our culture by cute furry animals seeking their shadows.

When is Groundhog Day 2018?

Groundhog Day is said to come from a European tradition called "Candlemas".

In the above video, our two-legged prognosticator, Chief Meteorologist Burton Fitzsimmons, brings you the outlook from the weather center and talks about some of the science behind the forecast.

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