Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow this morning in central Pennsylvania and saw his shadow, which, according to legend, signals six more weeks of winter weather for the U.S.
Thousands of fans were present when the groundhog emerged from his lair, the Associated Press reported.
This year marked the 128th celebration of the winter tradition, according to the Groundhog Club, which conducts the annual event atop Gobbler’s Knob. Organizers had predicted about 20,000 would witness the event because it’s on a weekend, AP said.
Central Pennsylvania’s earliest European settlers were Germans who said that if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2, the Christian holiday of Candlemas, unpleasant weather was on its way, according to the club website.
Punxsutawney Phil and his predecessors have seen their shadows 101 times since 1887, according to the Groundhog Club. Only 17 times the groundhog hasn’t seen his shadow, including last year, while another nine results weren’t recorded, the club said.
The National Weather Service today has issued winter storm warnings for six states including Texas, and winter weather advisories for 12 states stretching from Texas to New York as a storm hits the Plains and Midwest.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Hart in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org