Forget weather stations and forecasters, all we really need to find out what the weather will be like is to listen to the wise words of America’s most famous groundhog.
The tradition, which began in 1887, sees a group of elders from Gobbler’s Knob, an area near the small town of Punxsutawney, consult “Punxsutawney Phil” regarding when winter may turn to spring.
According to folklore, if the groundhog emerges from its burrow to see its shadow, then six more weeks of winter weather is on the way. But if it does not, spring is expected to come early.
But what has the groundhog predicted?
Well, as it emerged from its dwelling at Gobbler’s Knob on Saturday morning, no shadow was to be seen, apparently meaning Americans are in for an early spring.
This will be music to the ears of many Americans, who have been blighted by unpredictable weather that has included freezing cold snaps, fierce tornadoes and record-breaking seasonal highs.
Bob Roberts, one of Phil’s handlers, proclaimed:
“And so ye faithful, there is no shadow to see, an early Spring for you and me.”
But the town’s confidence in the North American marmot, that was made famous through the film “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray, may be slightly ambitious. Just last year, “Punxsutawney Phil” predicted freezing temperatures to continue, only for January to June to become the warmest seven-month period since systematic records began in 1895