On a frosty Thursday, Pennsylvania’s most famous marmot emerged from its burrow and saw its shadow, foretelling another six weeks of winter. At the time Punxsutawney Phil made his prediction, a devastating storm was wreaking havoc in the south and the northeast was preparing for a dangerous Arctic blast.
On Thursday, Punxsutawney Phil drew a crowd at Gobbler’s Knob. The members of Phil’s “inner circle” woke him up at dawn to find out if he had seen his shadow, and they say he had. When he sees his shadow, there are still six weeks of winter ahead. Without him, spring comes early.
A group of local dignitaries known as the “inner circle” organizes the events and takes care of Phil’s needs, such as food and shelter. The legend of a furry rodent in German folklore is the inspiration for Punxsutawney’s annual celebration. An estimated tens of thousands of people attended this year’s celebrations, which were held in a town about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
Since records began in 1887, Phil has correctly predicted winter over a hundred times. Organizers claim that 10 years of data are missing due to lack of records. In 2022, winter was predicted to last as long as the previous year.
While Punxsutawney Phil is the most famous woodchuck predictor, he is by no means alone. At a Thursday event at the Staten Island Zoo in New York City, Staten Island Chuck announced his prediction for an early spring. On Wednesday, a deadly storm system swept across a broad swath of the south United States with sleet and snow for the third day in a row, Phil and Chuck made their prediction.
More than 3,300 flights had to be cancelled, hundreds of thousands of people were without power and schools had to be closed because of the storm. This is according to data from CBS News On Wednesday, at least eight deaths were due to the recent weather in Texas.
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