Did Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow or is an early spring on the way?

According to local lore, Punxsutawney Phil's actions on Groundhog Day hold the key to predicting the arrival of spring.

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. – The rodent notorious for his ability to predict the seasons has emerged for his annual Groundhog Day forecast.

The sun rose above the horizon over Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, at about 7:25 a.m. EST Friday, signaling the start of a much-awaited annual event.

America's favorite groundhog, Phil, was roused from his slumber in a cozy stump where he had been hibernating for the winter. According to local lore, the large rodent's movements on this day hold the key to predicting the arrival of spring.


As the crowd, estimated at 45,000, gathered around his stump and the cameras rolled, Phil emerged from his cozy retreat. The air was electric with anticipation as the groundhog peered out into the daylight.

Phil's shadow was nowhere to be found as the crowd cheered excitedly. Despite some's hope for continued winter, the groundhog's prediction was clear – a forecast of an early spring.

Skies were cloudy Friday morning in Punxsutawney as temperatures hovered in the mid-30s at sunrise. A few flurries or snow showers are possible throughout the day, the FOX Forecast Center said.


Friday marks the 138th anniversary of the animal prognosticator's tradition, which has been at it since the 1880s. The tradition of celebrating Groundhog Day started as a Christian holiday. Pennsylvania Germans began celebrating it in the late 1880s by eating groundhogs, hunting and having picnics.

While the marmot's prediction is famous, the numbers do not support Phil's accuracy. The so-called "fat rat prognosticator" has only a 39% accuracy rate. Over the past 10 years, only three out of 10 predictions have been correct.

Here's a look at Punxsutawney Phil's predictions over the past decade.
(FOX Weather)


If you don't take Phil's word, other so-called animal forecasters have popped up around the country, all with the same goal of answering the age-old question: When will winter end?