Spring is coming early, Phill the groundhog announces

Washington.- Phil the groundhog emerged this Friday from the den where he hibernated in Punxsutawney (Pennsylvania), did not see his shadow and predicted that Americans will have an early spring, before hundreds of celebrants who cheered and applauded when at 07:22 (12 :22 GMT), the ritual’s officiants read the message that, supposedly, the famous rodent meteorologist from Punxsutawney chose.

“Without a doubt, spring will come early,” said one of the members of the Groundhog Club who interpreted the grunts of the animal, which seemed surprised and confused.

Celebration in Punxsutawney

Since the tradition began in 1887 this is only the twentieth time that the groundhog has not seen its shadow. According to legend, when there is enough sunlight for the animal to see its shadow, winter is six weeks away.

Although tradition remains strong, the success rate of Phil’s forecasts according to the Stormfax Almanac is 36%.

According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, the groundhog has seen its shadow 107 times, has not seen it 20 times, and there is no data for about 10 years in the late 19th century. In 1942, Phil only partially saw his shadow and the following year he did not leave the lair.

Between 2013 and 2023 the groundhog predicted six additional weeks of winter seven times, and of those it was only right once.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, which claims it is the same animal that has been making predictions for 130 years thanks to an “elixir of life”, maintains that Phil has a 100% correct record.

The celebration in Punxsutawney comes from the initiative of a group of hunters who adopted the rodent as a pet for a ritual every February 2, about 110 kilometers northeast of Pittsburgh.

The ritual has pagan roots that attribute supernatural powers to animals between the winter equinox and the spring solstice.

The date coincides, in the Christian calendar, with Candlemas Day in which the faithful believe that a clear sky announces a longer winter and a cloudy day heralds the near end of winter.

Phil is not the only meteorologist groundhog, but he is the most famous. Other places in North America have their own: General Beau Lee (Atlanta), Wiarton Willie (Ontario, Canada), Sir Walter Wally (Raleigh, North Carolina), Jimmy (Wisconsin), Chuck (New York), Birmingham Bill (Birmingham , Alabama) and Potomac Phil, a stuffed groundhog, in Washington DC.