Punxsutawney Phil, the seemingly immortal and consistently cute groundhog and weather prognosticator, has emerged from his burrow on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, this morning (Feb. 2) only to see his shadow, indicating six more weeks of winter.
The furry, well-fed groundhog — also called a woodchuck, marmot and whistle-pig — was welcomed by flashing TV cameras and a cheering crowd. And he apparently had something to say, speaking Groundhogese to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club president, Bill Deeley, who reported that Phil directed him to a scroll that read: "... My faithful followers, your hands and my paws are getting cold, so here's my forecast, not lead but solid gold. I see my royal shadow, six more weeks of winter to go." Lots of cheering, and some boos, followed from the huge crowd that turned out in front of Gobbler's Knob.
This is Phil's 132nd weather forecast. And while your average groundhog (Marmota monax) in captivity lives about 10 years, the marmot's caregivers maintain there has been only one furry forecaster.
Another claim of Phil's handlers: that the well-pampered (he lives next to the children's library the other 364 days of the year) rodent is spot-on with his forecasts every year.
"He sees his shadow about 80 percent of the time and the other 20 percent he doesn't," Deeley told Live Science previously. "He's pretty darn accurate."
The various incarnations of Punxsutawney Phil have seen their shadow 103 times (more winter) and reported no shadow, or early springs, 18 times. And in 1942, apparently, Phil saw a partial shadow, which was counted as "no shadow," according to Stormfax Almanac. There is no record for nine years. Overall, Phil has swung it out of the park about 39 percent of the time, according to Stormfax Almanac.
The weather-forecasting powers of woodchucks seem to date back to medieval Europe and were brought to the United States by German immigrants in the 1880s, Live Science previously reported.
Original article on Live Science.