Groundhog Day is Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019.
This morning, Pennsylvania's own world-famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted an early spring after not seeing his shadow, a prediction so rare that it has only happened 19 times in the 133-year history of Groundhog Day. As silly as it all may sound, the ceremonial tradition goes back to 1886, and has maintained an enduring cultural legacy.
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. This, his male handlers in top hats dramatically said, signals an early start to spring and an end to winter.
More than 30,000 people came out to see Punxsutawney Phil's forecast in Pennsylvania.
Even if Phil's prediction turns out to be inaccurate, the weather is expected to warm up during the weekend.
Due to the fact that annual weather trends can vary across the USA each year, there are discrepancies between sources regarding Punxsutawney Phil's accuracy. according to Stormfax Almanac, Punxsutawney Phil boasts only a 39% success rate, whereas Accuweather puts it at around 80%.
The world's most famous groundhog, woke up and announced an early spring at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, PA. According to his info-graphic, since 1887, Punxsutawney Phill has seen his shadow 104 times, signaling six more weeks of winter.
According to Stormfax, Phil's predictions have been correct in 39 percent of the time.
The Groundhog Day website explains: "After Phil emerges from his burrow on February 2, he speaks to the Groundhog Club president in "Groundhogese"(a language only understood by the current president of the Inner Circle)".
Born of a winter festival called Candlemas Day, the celebration found churchgoers bringing candles to be blessed.
If the day is cloudy and shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.
Punxsutawney Phil is protected and cared for by the Groundhog Club.
German settlers brought the tradition to the USA. with an added twist.
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club hosts the main Groundhog Day event in the town. Since then, the quirky tradition has ballooned into a multi-day spectacle for the town.