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Update: Punxsutawney Phil calls for early spring

Written by Tim Lambert and The Associated Press | Feb 2, 2016 7:29 AM
groundhog_phil_punxsutawney.jpg

Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, is held by the gloved hands of handler Ron Ploucha during the 129th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. Phil's handlers said that the groundhog has forecast six more weeks of winter weather. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(Punxsutawney) -- Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, has spoken.

"There is no shadow to be cast! An early spring is my forecast," said Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

It's only the 18th time Phil has not seen his shadow since 1887.

Records going back to 1887 show Phil has predicted more winter 102 times.

Members of the top hat-wearing Inner Circle announced the ``forecast'' at sunrise, just before 7:30 a.m. today.

A German legend has it that if a furry rodent sees his shadow on February 2, winter will last another six weeks.

If not, spring comes early.

In reality, Phil's prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler's Knob.

The tiny hill is located just outside the Jefferson County community. 

*Below is an earlier story*

(Punxsutawney) -- The handlers of Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog are set to predict whether we'll have early spring-like weather or have to suffer through the end of winter. 

Members of Punxsutawney Phil's top hat-wearing inner circle plan to reveal their forecast at sunrise, just before 7:30 this morning.  

Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, says only he can speak to Phil.

"We speak in our own little "groundhog-ese. It's a rather unique language. It's little tweeps and purrs and winks and nods and whatever," he says. "It's just something you acquire after awhile."

A German legend has it that if a furry rodent sees his shadow on February second, winter will last an additional six weeks.

If not, spring comes early. 

Deeley urges patience for those hoping Phil will predict an early spring.

"Now, folks get a little confused with the early spring. They think it's like flipping a light switch on a wall that we're going to go from winter to summer," he says. "You know...it might be four-and-a-half...it might be five-and-a-half weeks, but it's going to be quicker than six weeks or more."

Watch the ceremony here.

In reality, Phil's "prediction'' is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler's Knob.

The tiny hill is located just outside Punxsutawney in Jefferson County. 

Records going back to 1887 have Phil forecasting more winter 102 times while forecasting an early spring just 17 times.

There are no records for the remaining years.  
    

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