Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

Yahoo News Photo Staff

Punxsutawney Phil, the weather-forecasting groundhog, emerged from his burrow in Pennsylvania on Friday, saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter, despite his rival Staten Island Chuck in New York predicting an early spring.

Phil’s prognostication, which was delivered at about 7:20 am EST, was met with a mix of cheers and groans from thousands of revelers on Friday who gathered in the town of Punxsutawney about 80 miles (120 km) northeast of Pittsburgh.

Even though they have endured record-breaking freezing temperatures and an unusually powerful winter storm known as a “bomb cyclone,” North Americans should expect winter to stretch on, according to the furry Pennsylvania critter.

But another celebrated groundhog, Chuck in the New York City borough of Staten Island, did not see his shadow on Friday and instead predicted an early spring. Chuck is known for biting then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the ceremony in 2009.

According to legend, if the groundhog emerges from his dwelling and sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter should be expected. But if there is no shadow, spring will make an early arrival.

Groundhogs, portly animals belonging to the squirrel family, have been offering weather predictions in Punxsutawney, which has a population of about 6,000 people, since 1887.

The town’s annual Groundhog Day event, made more popular by the 1993 comedy film “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray, draws people from as far away as Australia and Russia. This year was the 132nd ceremony.

Canada has its own share of weather-forecasting mascots, including Wiarton Willie, an albino groundhog who is also due to make his spring prediction on Friday in southern Ontario. (Reuters)

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<p>Co-handler John Griffiths holds Punxsutawney Phil for the crowd gathered at Gobbler’s Knob on the 132nd Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Alan Freed/Reuters) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

Co-handler John Griffiths holds Punxsutawney Phil for the crowd gathered at Gobbler’s Knob on the 132nd Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Alan Freed/Reuters)

<p>Groundhog Club co-handler Al Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 132nd celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Gene J. Puskar/AP) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

Groundhog Club co-handler Al Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 132nd celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Gene J. Puskar/AP)

<p>Punxsutawney Phil is held up by his handler for the crowd to see during the ceremonies for Groundhog day on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

Punxsutawney Phil is held up by his handler for the crowd to see during the ceremonies for Groundhog day on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

<p>A television newsperson wears a hat bearing a groundhog during ceremonies for Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

A television newsperson wears a hat bearing a groundhog during ceremonies for Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

<p>The scroll selected by Punxsutawney Phil that predicts six more weeks of winter is held up for the crowd to see during Groundhog day ceremonies on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

The scroll selected by Punxsutawney Phil that predicts six more weeks of winter is held up for the crowd to see during Groundhog day ceremonies on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

<p>Groundhog co-handler A.J. Derume holds Punxsutawney Phil at Gobbler’s Knob on the 132nd Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Alan Freed/Reuters) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

Groundhog co-handler A.J. Derume holds Punxsutawney Phil at Gobbler’s Knob on the 132nd Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Alan Freed/Reuters)

<p>One of Punxsutawney Phil’s followers holds a sign encouraging warmer weather at Gobbler’s Knob on the 132nd Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Alan Freed/Reuters) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

One of Punxsutawney Phil’s followers holds a sign encouraging warmer weather at Gobbler’s Knob on the 132nd Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Alan Freed/Reuters)

<p>Punxsutawney Phil greets reporters at Gobbler’s Knob on the 132nd Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Alan Freed/Reuters) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

Punxsutawney Phil greets reporters at Gobbler’s Knob on the 132nd Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Alan Freed/Reuters)

<p>The door on Punxsutawney Phil’s hutch is knocked with a cane to awaken him, Phil saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

The door on Punxsutawney Phil’s hutch is knocked with a cane to awaken him, Phil saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

<p>Members of the ‘inner circle’ make their way through crowds during ceremonies for Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

Members of the ‘inner circle’ make their way through crowds during ceremonies for Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

<p>Crowd member wears a Groundhog day themed headwear before ceremonies for Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

Crowd member wears a Groundhog day themed headwear before ceremonies for Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

<p>Groundhog Club inner circle member John Grusky wears a thermometer around his neck as he makes the trek to Gobblers Knob for the celebration of the 132nd Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa. Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Gene J. Puskar/AP) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

Groundhog Club inner circle member John Grusky wears a thermometer around his neck as he makes the trek to Gobblers Knob for the celebration of the 132nd Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa. Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Gene J. Puskar/AP)

<p>Groundhog Club Inner Circle members Dave Gigliotti and Dan McGinnis welcome a large crowd at Gobbler’s Knob on the 132nd Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Alan Freed/Reuters) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

Groundhog Club Inner Circle members Dave Gigliotti and Dan McGinnis welcome a large crowd at Gobbler’s Knob on the 132nd Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Alan Freed/Reuters)

<p>A belly dancer performs in a talent show in early morning ceremonies for Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

A belly dancer performs in a talent show in early morning ceremonies for Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

<p>Jackie and Jimmy Wilson watch a fireworks display during the 132nd Groundhog Day on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Gene J. Puskar/AP) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

Jackie and Jimmy Wilson watch a fireworks display during the 132nd Groundhog Day on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo: Gene J. Puskar/AP)

<p>Television newspeople speak on camera as fireworks explode over the tree line during ceremonies for Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) </p>
Punxsutawney Phil makes annual Groundhog Day prediction

Television newspeople speak on camera as fireworks explode over the tree line during ceremonies for Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, 2018 in Punxsutawney, Pa. (Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

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