NATIONAL NEWS

Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring at Groundhog Day festivities

Feb 2, 2024, 5:39 AM | Updated: 5:57 am

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) — Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring Friday in Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania, the scene of the country’s largest and best known Groundhog Day celebration in the United States.

The annual event is a tongue-in-cheek ritual in which Phil’s handlers, members of a club with roots in the late 19th century, reveal whether the groundhog has seen his shadow.

Just after sunrise Friday, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club announced Phil did not see his shadow, which will usher in early springlike weather. The groundhog seeing his shadow presages six more weeks of winter, according to the group.

About 10,000 people have made their way in recent years to Punxsutawney, where festivities begin in the dead of night and culminate in the midwinter forecast. A bundled-up crowd, some wearing groundhog-themed hats, watched musical performances and fireworks as they waited for sunrise and the appearance of Punxsutawney Phil.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro took the stage before Phil to urge people around the world watching the festivities to come to Punxsutawney next year. Shapiro also announced the famed groundhog is the new official meteorologist for Pennsylvania.

“Punxsutawney is the center of the universe right now and I love that you’re all here,” Shapiro said.

Phil predicts more winter far more often than he sees an early spring, not a bad bet for February and March in western Pennsylvania. A federal agency took a look at his record last year and put his accuracy rate at about 40%.

The tradition of celebrating the midpoint between the shortest day of the year on the winter solstice and the spring equinox goes back many centuries in European farm life.

There are more than a dozen active groundhog clubs in Pennsylvania, some dating back to the 1930s, and weather-predicting groundhogs have appeared in at least 28 U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

The 1993 blockbuster film “Groundhog Day,” starring Bill Murray, fueled interest in Punxsutawney Phil and inspired informal observations far and wide.

When he’s not making his annual prognostication, Phil lives in a customized space beside the Punxsutawney Memorial Library, with a window where library patrons can check out his burrow. Back in 2009, library workers said Phil had somehow managed to escape three times, climbing into the library ceiling and dropping into offices about 50 feet (15 meters) away. He wasn’t injured.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

FILE: Two crop dusting airplanes collided near an airport in southern Idaho on Thursday, June 20, 2...

Associated Press

2 crop dusting airplanes collided in southern Idaho, killing 1 pilot and severely injuring the other

Two crop dusting airplanes collided near an airport in southern Idaho on Thursday and crashed to the ground, killing one of the pilots and leaving the other with life-threatening injuries, officials said.

8 hours ago

A SkyWest Airlines jet approaches Salt Lake International Airport on Sept. 24, 2022. SkyWest announ...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Flights between St. George and Los Angeles to resume after 4-year delay

St. George-based SkyWest Airlines announced this week that daily flights between St. George Regional Airport and Los Angeles International Airport will return this fall, through United Express, one of SkyWest's different airline service partners.

13 hours ago

The Supreme Court decided Friday to uphold a federal gun control law that is meant to protect victi...

Brian Carlson

Supreme Court upholds gun law intended to protect domestic violence victims

The Supreme Court decided Friday to uphold a federal gun control law that is meant to protect victims of domestic violence. The law prevents people with a domestic violence restraining order from having a gun.

1 day ago

Recount observers watch ballots during a Milwaukee hand recount of Presidential votes at the Wiscon...

Ken Ritter, Associated Press

Fake elector case in Nevada dismissed over venue question, state attorney general vows appeal

A Nevada judge has dismissed a criminal indictment against six Republicans accused of submitting certificates to Congress falsely declaring Donald Trump the winner of the state’s 2020 presidential election.

1 day ago

The bodies of two men, including a U.S. Air Force colonel who served as director of operations for ...

Associated Press

Bodies of Air Force colonel and Utah man are recovered after their plane crashed in an Alaska lake

The bodies of two men, including a U.S. Air Force colonel who served as director of operations for the Alaskan Command, have been recovered after their small plane plunged into an Alaska lake.

1 day ago

Four menthol vaping products were authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday, the ...

Jen Christensen, CNN

FDA sign-off on menthol e-cigarettes ‘flies in the face of public health,’ anti-tobacco groups say

Four menthol vaping products were authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday, the first non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products to get the agency’s sign-off. The decision drew harsh criticism from pediatricians and anti-tobacco groups.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring at Groundhog Day festivities