Punxsutawney Phil groundhog predicts early Spring

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) – The handlers of Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, say the furry rodent has failed to see his shadow, meaning he has “predicted” an early spring.

Members of the top hat-wearing Inner Circle announced the “forecast” at sunrise, just before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

A German legend has it that if a furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last another six weeks. If not, spring comes early.

In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler’s Knob, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Records going back to 1887 show Phil has now predicted more winter 102 times while forecasting an early spring just 18 times. There are no records for the remaining years.

In New York, Staten Island Chuck agrees with Phil; an early spring is coming.

The groundhog did not see his shadow as he emerged from his home at the Staten Island Zoo early Tuesday.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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