Punxsutawney Phil prepares to make Groundhog Day prediction

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — It’s Groundhog Day and people are waiting to find out whether a beloved animal in a western Pennsylvania town will herald an early spring or six more weeks of winter.

People will gather at Gobbler Knob on Thursday as members of Punxsutawney Phil’s “inner circle” will call him from his tree stump in the morning to learn if he has seen his shadow. According to folklore, if he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, spring comes early.

The “inner circle” is a group of local dignitaries who are responsible for planning events as well as feeding and caring for Phil himself.

The annual event in Punxsutawney has its origins in a German legend about a beloved mouse. Officials at the community — which is about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh — are expecting the usual crowd of 10,000 to 15,000 visitors to come out for the event, which will also be streamed live.

If Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, it would be six more weeks of winter.

Phil has predicted winter more than 100 times, according to records dating back to 1887. Organizers said ten years were wasted because no records were kept.

The 2021 forecast calls for six more weeks of winter.

While Punxsutawney Phil may be the most famous groundhog out there, he’s certainly not the only one. New York City’s Staten Island Chuck will also make his prediction Thursday during an event at the Staten Island Zoo.

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