Warm temps are near, Punxsutawney Phil predicts

Saturday, February 2, 2013 - 8:35pm

If you were hoping to be done with winter, Punxsutawney Phil had some good news for you -- spring is on the way.

After the groundhog was summoned from his burrow at the Gobbler's Knob hill in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, observers proclaimed that "the prognosticator of all prognosticators" had not seen his shadow.

Meanwhile, at New York's Staten Island Zoo, fellow groundhog Staten Island Chuck also didn't see his shadow, agreeing that an early spring was on its way. But General Beauregard Lee, a Georgia groundhog, saw his shadow, signaling six more weeks of winter.

Punxsutawney's celebration goes back 127 years.

The tradition goes back to medieval times when there was a superstition that all hibernating animals emerged from their caves and dens to check the weather on Candlemas, which is halfway between the winter solstice in December and the vernal equinox in March. If the animals saw their shadows, winter would go on for another six weeks, and they could go back to sleep, according to the tradition.

Much of the United States has seen extreme highs and lows in temperatures in recent weeks, taking folks from shorts and T-shirt weather to conditions that require heavy coats and gloves.

Here's what Phil indicated in the last few years, according to Groundhog.org:

2012: "Many shadows do I see, six more weeks of winter it must be."

2011: "No shadow, spring is near!"

2010: "Phil saw his shadow and told his prediction to new Inner Circle President Bill Deeley."

2009: "Phil saw his shadow and Inner Circle President Bill Cooper completed his final interpretation and retired at Gobbler's Knob. It was 7:26 a.m."

2008: "It was 29 degrees. In front of one of the largest crowds ever at Gobbler's."

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