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Just before 7:30 a.m. Friday morning Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog saw his shadow, predicting what many already knew.

If it is sunny, and Phil sees his shadow, then the superstition goes that the USA will have to endure six more weeks of winter. If not, expect spring-like temperatures.

Groundhogs, portly animals belonging to the squirrel family, have been offering weather predictions in Punxsutawney, which has a population of about 6,000 people, since 1887.

Each year during the early morning hours of February 2, a large crowd gathers around a tree stump located on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The small community is about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Last year, the woodchuck predicted six more weeks of winter, only for February to be the warmest on record in the Central Ohio region, with temperatures averaging 40 degrees that month, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He has only forecast an early spring in 18 years, according to the records.

"Sharing Punxsutawney Phil's prognostication with the world each year is truly an honor", said Groundhog Club President Bill Deeley.

First Celebration: The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club credits The Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper with printing the first observance in 1886 followed the next year by the first trek to Gobbler's Knob.


Don't pack away your winter coats just yet - Punxsutawney Phil says there's going to be six more weeks of winter.

The traditions mark Groundhog Day, which is Friday. But if there is no shadow, spring will make an early arrival.

People supposedly watched hedgehogs or badgers to see if they saw their shadows on Candlemas Day, celebrated each February 2nd.

The safety measures were adapted after Mayor DeBlasio dropped Charlotte - a female groundhog standing in as Chuck - in 2014.

At the Groundhog Day celebration, Phil's official handler, a member of this tuxedo-and-top-hat-wearing group, pulls the oversized squirrel from his stump and lifts him above the packed crowd.

Groundhogs aren't the only creatures thought to predict winter.


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