Groundhog predicts 6 more weeks of winter weather for US

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Groundhog Day 2005.
Image: Aaron Silvers.

Each year, for the past 118 years, thousands of people have traveled to the Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney in the United States, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, on February 2nd to see if the groundhog named Phil predicted more winter weather or an early spring.

This year, Phil did see his shadow when pulled out of his burrow on Gobblers' Knob, which according to an essentially German superstition, means the area should brace for more winter weather.

This year, visitors came from as far as Texas and Alaska to see the annual event, which may be linked to a European festival of Candlemas. The crowd of nearly 30,000 people was one of the largest in the event's history.

In Wiarton, Ontario, Canada's Wiarton Willie, however, predicted an early spring for Canadians in the province. Just a day ago a heavy snowstorm blaze struck Ontario and Quebec. "Dignitaries, me lads and ladies, get your shorts and T-shirts too, Wiarton Willie's annual task is through. Now the town crier proudly rings, Willie predicts it's an early spring," said town crier Bruce Krugerwhile while ringing his bell. Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam also predicted an early spring. It is said up to ten thousand people attend the event in Ontario annually.