Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Punxsutawney Phil is back with his annual weather prediction.

On Thursday morning, otherwise known as Groundhog Day, all eyes turned to Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania — and just like last year, and the year before that, the legendary groundhog saw his shadow.

Per tradition, that means Phil predicts there’ll be an extra six weeks of winter weather.

Had Phil rose from his burrow and not seen his shadow, an early spring would have been predicted to be on the way.

Of course, it’s important to note that Phil doesn’t have the best reputation for getting it right.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration previously reported that Phil’s predictions pan out just 40 percent of the time. “You’re better off trying to decide what the rest of February and March will look like by flipping a coin,” CNN meteorologist Judson Jones once remarked.

Groundhog Day

Punxsutawney Groundhog Club records show that Phil is far more likely to see his shadow and has only predicted an early spring 20 times since the tradition began in 1886.

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Rory Szwed, left, and Kent Rowan watch the festivities while waiting for Punxsutawney Phil

The annual holiday dates back to the early days of Christianity in Europe, according to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office.

Born of a winter festival called Candlemas Day, the celebration involved churchgoers bringing candles to be blessed. If the skies were clear that day, it meant an extended winter was in the cards.

Group of spectators entertain the crowd while waiting for Punxsutawney Phil

In the U.S., Groundhog Day dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Pennsylvania German settlers pulled the tradition from European weather lore that used the appearance of hibernators, like badgers, as a sign it was time to prepare for spring.

Groundhog Day was first recorded in Punxsutawney in 1886, and the tradition has been going strong ever since.