Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil says 'a handsome spring it shall be'


This Saturday, the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania celebrates the country's most famous weather forecaster - Punxsutawney Phil - who will emerge from his lair on Gobbler's Knob shortly after 7 a.m. ET on February 2.

For a groundhog, Phil is surprisingly accurate.

Chattanooga Chuck, a distant cousin of our friend Phil, will make a similar, if less opulent, appearance Saturday morning at 10:30am at the Tennessee Aquarium's River Journey lobby.

It may be hard to believe as a large swath of the USA thaws out from a bitter polar vortex, but spring is coming early, according to handlers for some of the country's most famous prognosticating groundhogs.

In the U.S., Groundhog Day dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

Each year, Americans wait with bated breath to learn from a groundhog if spring will come sooner rather than later.

And what did Punxsutawney Phil predict?

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On the TV behind the bar, men in top hats and tuxedos dance on a stage in Punxsutawney, a Pennsylvania town some 270 miles away that has made an industry out of a day devoted to a woodchuck.

Why is Groundhog Day a thing?

The groundhog has seen his shadow 103 times, making predictions of long winters more common. In one study done by the Washington Post, over a 30-year span, the groundhog (and his descendants) were technically correct more years than not, but it really depended on which part of the country was being examined.

German settlers brought the tradition to the United States. with an added twist. "All hail groundhog supremacy", the Inner Circle president said, as Phil was presented to the crowd.

1886 was the first recorded year that Groundhog Day was celebrated in Punxsutawney, according to the local newspaper.

If you can't be there to watch Phil's prediction in person, you can live stream it here.