Pennsylvania groundhog ‘forecasts’ 6 more weeks of winter

Groundhog Club co-handlers John Griffiths, right, and Ron Ploucha carry Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, on his rounds through downtown Punxsutawney, Pa., Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, the eve of the 129th Groundhog Day celebration on Gobbler's Knob. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) — The handlers of Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, say the furry rodent has forecast six more weeks of winter.

Members of the top hat-wearing Inner Circle announced the “forecast” just before 7:30 a.m. Monday.

A German legend has it that if a furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last another six weeks. If not, spring comes early.

In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler’s Knob, the tiny hill in the town for which he’s named about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Records going back to 1887 show Phil has now predicted more winter 102 times while forecasting an early spring just 17 times. There are no records for the remaining years.

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