Groundhog Day 2014: Punxsutawney Phil Predicts Longer Winter

Punxsutawney Phil predicts a longer winter, but don’t worry, he doesn’t have a good track record for accuracy. 

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — The handlers for groundhog Punxsutawney Phil say he’s forecasting six more weeks of what already has felt like a brutally long and cold winter.

Pennsylvania’s famed groundhog emerged from his lair in front of thousands of fans around daybreak Sunday.

Legend has it that if the furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last another month-and-a-half. If he doesn’t see it, spring will come early.

In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by a group called the Inner Circle, whose members don top hats and tuxedos for the ceremony on Groundhog Day each year.

Phil is the most famous of a small group of groundhogs said to forecast the weather, including Staten Island Chuck in New York and General Beauregard Lee in Atlanta.

The National Weather Service notes that the Punxsutawney Groundhog Day predictions have been right 10 times and wrong 15 times since 1988.

“The groundhog has shown no talent for predicting the arrival of spring, especially in recent years,” according to the Weather Service. “Phil’s competitor groundhogs across the Nation fared no better.”

Epoch Times staff member Tara MacIsaac contributed to this report.