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Groundhog Day celebrations kicked off today with people anxiously watching the live stream awaiting the weather forecast for the upcoming year. February 2 is the day when the most famous groundhog around the world, Punxsutawney Phil, emerges from his den to make weather prognostications. But did the groundhog see his shadow and will winter last another six weeks?
This year, Punxsutawney’s Groundhog Day celebrations will be entirely virtual.
Normally, about 40,000 visitors gather for the celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, each year.
Phil’s predictions happen in a rural spot a couple of miles from Punxsutawney called Gobbler’s Knob.
Around 7.10am EST (12.10pm GMT), the groundhog emerges from his burrow in front of thousands of followers from around the world.
This year was unlike any other celebration, with no visitors permitted to attend the festival.
Instead, fans of the tradition were asked to watch the annual celebration of the immortal groundhog.
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Groundhog Day is a popular tradition commemorated across North America including the United States and Canada each year on February 2.
The celebration originates from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition concerning a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day.
The tradition began with the earliest settlers of Pennsylvania.
These individuals brought the legend of Candlemas with them, from which this tradition was born.
Did the groundhog see his shadow?
The superstition of the famous groundhog claims Punxsutawney Phil can predict the weather for the next six weeks.
If the renowned and immortal groundhog sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat into its den and winter will persist for six more weeks.
But if Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow due to cloudiness, spring will arrive early.
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The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club website reads: “Punxsutawney Phil is the only true weather-forecasting groundhog. The others are just impostors.”
The website also maintains Phil’s predictions are “100 percent” correct all of the time.
However, an approximate 80 percent accuracy rate is recorded for predictions.
Impartial estimates place the groundhog’s accuracy rate at between 35 and 40 percent.
In 2021, Phil noticed his shadow which meant there would be six more weeks of winter.
He emerged from his burrow at 7.25am EST (12.25am GMT), and the inner circle of the Groundhog Club revealed the prediction.
In the prognostication, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club said: “It is a beautiful morning, this I can see, with all my fans viewing virtually.
“My faithful followers being safe and secure, our tradition of Groundhog Day must endure.
“We have all passed through the darkness of night, but now see hope in morning’s bright light.
“But now when I turn to see, there is a perfect shadow cast of me, six more weeks of winter there will be.”
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club confirmed the prediction of six more weeks of winter.
But for those hoping for warmer weather, the club said he had also informed them that they could expect “one of the most beautiful and brightest springs, you have ever seen”.
Last year, the groundhog predicted an early spring which proved correct.
However, he predicted a longer spring in 2019 and this was incorrect according to the NOAA.
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