Thousands of people in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, have been celebrating Groundhog Day.
Groundhog Phil is famous for predicting whether or not winter is due to end.
The rodent saw his shadow which means winter will extend well into March according to folklore. Had Phil not seen his shadow, it would have meant spring is around the corner.
Phil’s prediction may depress residents in the eastern US, weary from repeated outbreaks of arctic air.
Since the Groundhog’s first prediction in 1887, Phil has seen his shadow 100 times and not seen it on just 17 occasions. There are nine missing years in the record, but Phil has issued a forecast without exception.
No one questions Phil’s dedication to prognostication, but his accuracy is an unending source of controversy.
Last Groundhog Day, Phil did not see his shadow, a supposed harbinger of an early spring. Yet, bitter cold and snow affected the eastern US deep into March.
The prosecuting attorney in Butler County, Ohio went as far as to seek the death penalty for Phil for “misrepresentation of early spring” before a Pennsylvania law firm came to Phil’s defense, claiming the Ohio attorney had no jurisdiction to prosecute the Groundhog.
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