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Groundhog sees shadow, more winter

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Phil sees his shadow
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Punxsutawney Phil comes out of hole, sees his shadow
  • Prognosticating groundhog signals six more weeks of winter
  • Phil is correct 39 percent of the time, CNN meteorologist says
  • But National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Phil has "no predictive skill"
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(CNN) -- Punxsutawney Phil, America's most famous rodent prognosticator, saw his shadow Tuesday, signaling six more weeks of winter.

Phil emerged from his ceremonial tree stump at Gobbler's Knob, Pennsylvania, to a cheering crowd that had waited in the cold for his annual prediction.

It is the 99th time that Phil -- in his various incarnations -- has seen his shadow, according to groundhog.org, the official Web site of the groundhog club in Punxsutawney, about 75 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, in western Pennsylvania.

Not seeing a shadow -- something that has happened just 15 times in Phil's history, according to the club -- would have meant spring is around the corner.

Phil's predictions don't mean much to human weather predictors, however.

CNN meteorologist Chad Meyers, citing stormfax.com, said Phil is correct 39 percent of the time. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration goes even further, saying Phil has "no predictive skill."

The tradition behind the famous groundhog 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.

Seeing their shadows would mean winter would go on for another six weeks, and they could go back to sleep, according to the tradition.

The tradition came to America with the early German settlers who arrived in Pennsylvania.

 
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