Groundhog doesn't see his shadow, predicting early spring

Groundhog Club handler John Griffiths center holds Punxsutawney Phil

As the Midwest and East Coast try to recover from this week's unsafe Arctic blast, Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog is gearing up to reveal whether an early spring is on the way or if winter will stick around.

Members of Punxsutawney (puhnk-suh-TAW'-nee) Phil's inner circle revealed spring is coming early.

This time of year, "I don't think there's ever been a case where we've seen [such a big] shift in temperatures", Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the Weather Underground, recently told USA Today.

In addition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has officially stated that Punxsutawney Phil has "no predictive skill". As Data from the Stormfax Almanac shows, Phil's predictions have been right a whopping 39 percent of the time.

The freakish history of Groundhog Day can be traced back to 1887, when, for the first time, people took weather advice from a rodent at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, History.com explained.

How accurate has the groundhog been?

According to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office, as many as 30,000 people descend on the tiny town annually to watch Phil make his prediction.

In the U.S., Groundhog Day dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

Since the entire holiday hinges on a pudgy rodent's weather predictions, it's natural to question how often Punxsutawney Phil is actually correct. On that day, superstition held that if it were sunny and clear, a long winter was expected. When German settlers arrived in the United States, they brought the tradition with them, swapping hedgehogs for groundhogs.

The 1993 film "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray, gave world fame to the groundhog Phil, but he's not the only weather marmot.

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