Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter

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As I get older, I appreciate much of the weirdness of American culture, from Santa Trackers to Steve Kornacki’s khakis to the inexplicable obsession with Gritty to our collective delusion in a groundhog predicting the weather. We just decide that these are real things and we enjoy them annually, for better or for worse. Today is Groundhog Day and that c–ksucker Punxsutawney Phil saw his motherf–king shadow. Meaning, there will be six more weeks of winter.

Punxsutawney Phil – the legendary groundhog weather watcher – woke up and saw his shadow Thursday morning, calling for six more weeks of winter.

Each February 2, on Groundhog Day, the members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club make the pilgrimage to Gobbler’s Knob, Phil’s official home.

The group waits for Phil to leave his burrow and, legend has it, if he sees his shadow we’re in for six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, we get to bask in an early spring.

Scientifically speaking, winter will officially come to an end on the equinox on March 20, regardless of what Phil predicts. But Mother Nature doesn’t always follow the timetable, and neither does Phil. Though Phil has no meteorology degree, every year the United States tunes in for his prediction.

Phil’s track record is not perfect. “On average, Phil has gotten it right 40% of the time over the past 10 years,” according to the National Centers for Environmental Information, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which manages “one of the largest archives of atmospheric, coastal, geophysical, and oceanic research in the world.”

[From CNN]

Here in the mid-Atlantic, we’ve had a somewhat mild winter. We had the bomb cyclone earlier than usual, when it was like 10 degrees for days before Christmas, but January was either mild or normal-cold. That being said, it’s snowing today! It’s our first snow of the year, on Groundhog Day. And I know a large swath of the country has had ice and snow this week. February is always brutal, and I totally believe we’re going to have six more weeks of this sh-t.

Aren’t you flabbergasted that this many people still come out in the dead of winter to worship a weather-predicting groundhog at a place called Gobbler’s Knob? It’s amazing and terrible. Try to explain it to foreigners.

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39 Responses to “Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter”

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  1. Zazzoo says:

    Woot! Groundhog Day! Blessings to all who celebrate. Bill Murray here I come!

  2. Blue Nails Betty says:

    Thanks, I hate it.

  3. Susu says:

    My 5 year old heard all about the ground hog at school and she was devastated when we got outside this morning because it was sunny and she believes Phil won’t see his shadow. 😂

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      Yay another weather girl! Your daughter sounds awesome! I’m always sad when the sun’s out, but completely stoked in bad weather. There’s probably a screw loose somewhere lol.

  4. Ameerah M says:

    Can we all finally admit this is a scam lol? There will ALWAYS be six more weeks of winter because there are six weeks until Spring. It’s math lol.

    • Becks1 says:

      I mean, I don’t know if its a scam, so much as its not based in fact. but does anyone think that winter being longer or shorter depends on whether Phil sees his shadow or not?

      It’s a fun tradition, that’s all. My kids got a kick out of watching it on TV this morning.

    • Sass says:

      It’s a silly fun tradition much like any other tradition. Even if you don’t think your own traditions are silly, they’re still silly.

      And technically it’s seven more weeks of winter since March 20 is when we have spring equinox.

      However it’s always been interpreted to me as “will it be miserably cold or will it be milder?” So. I guess buckle up.

      • Ameerah M says:

        I get that it’s a silly tradition. The shock over it is what cracks me up. As if he would ever NOT see his shadow.

    • Mash says:


    • Jennifer says:

      Literally it won’t be spring on February 3, especially on the East Coast. Who the hell came up with the six weeks thing, anyway?

  5. SIde Eye says:

    I don’t know why but I love this tradition. I used to watch it from Canada and I always found it hilarious. It’s like every year the crowds get bigger. Now I am stateside and I still love this even though none of it makes any sense.

    I thought it would be a white Christmas in NH and it was not! Winter got off to a late start here. Not even snow in early December. This week it’s freezing cold, and next week it’s 40 degrees here. Crazy weather.

    Also Phil is adorable.

    • LadyMTL says:

      Canadian here too, and I find it really funny that we yank a big ol’ rodent out of its burrow once a year and then make weather forecasts based on a shadow of all things.
      Considering the temps here this weekend are going to be about -20 celcius, I wouldn’t have believed an early spring prediction anyway lol.

  6. HeyKay says:

    What great photos of Phil! This years Phil is a pretty handsome groundhog. Very well groomed.
    His human appears to have a matching beard to Phils’ fur coat, very nice. 😀
    The Officials are having fun, gives them a chance to wear their big hats. 👍
    I’m in Minnesota, where 10 months feel like stinking winter.
    I love the tradition of P.Phil. I always root for Phil, even tho I know it’s not a real thing.

    Look how happy the folks look. Dudes that are bare chested fans for Phil. Fun.
    If I was in the area, you betcha I’d be there.
    Go root for Phil, chat with everybody, then pancakes.

    • SIde Eye says:

      Everything you just said HeyKay! Phil is the cutest! The bare chested guys cracked me up! It’s like something you’d see at a sporting event.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        Agree!!! Yes, Minnesota does have winter 10 months of the year. My sisters are neighbors, Go Cheese Heads, and I am always alarmed at how they adjust as I am in Texas.

        Though I will admit I am not happy with P. Phil prediction but who doesn’t love his adorable face?? I believe he is quite pleased by the admiration as well!! I still get a chuckle every year surrounding Phil’s appearance and I love this tradition.

        BTW, Minneapolis is one of my favorite cities and have tried to convince my husband to move there but we are Boulder bound.

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      HeyKay, what do you mean ‘This years Phil..’? It’s been the same Phil since forever according to the very official groundhog.org site. Every summer at the Groundhog Picnic, Phil gets a sip of the “elixir of life” and magically lives another 7 years. (I’m beginning to suspect Paul Rudd has had a sip of the “elixir of life” at some point.)


      Under the Legend & Lore tab it’s discussed how the tradition was started by German settlers. Though Celts/Irish also have a version that ties into St. Brigid’s Day. I enjoy the fun tradition of Phil every year. And, Phil is an adorable/handsome boy at 136+ years. Love that he looks very comfy cozy with his human.

      The Groundhog Day events look very festive. A BIG day of fun. I would choose attending a day of Gobbler’s Knob Groundhog events over, let’s say, a Chubbly. Hope the British Media isn’t accusing Punxsutawney Phil of ‘overshadowing’ any royal events.

  7. usavgjoe says:

    We also learned about the groundhog in school… but, I go by the crows. My Dad was a Southern sharecropper as a young man… whenever they saw a crow or a flock of crows, it was an indicator that cooler weather was on it way. And it’s true… even here in Southern California whenever a see one or more crows, we get cooler weather. It’s like clockwork.

    • Becks1 says:

      As you say that the damn crows are flying past my house caw-cawing away. Damn it. I don’t want colder weather if we’re not getting snow.

  8. Feeshalori says:

    I’m going with Staten Island Chuck here in New York who didn’t see his shadow and predicted an early spring. He’s been 80% correct in forecasting for the past 13 years so I’m betting on our local prognosticator lol.

  9. Eurydice says:

    It’s fun and harmless – at least he’s a real groundhog and not some fictional old man who lives in a fictional North Pole with his fictional reindeer.

  10. Kitten says:

    Who thought a sweet groundhog would spark such a spirited debate among my celebitches lol.
    That groundhog is SO cute. We had a young raccoon sleeping on our deck chair last fall and it was all I could do not to feed him, hug him, and make him my own. Most self-restraint I’ve ever shown when it comes to the cute street cats.

  11. Imara219 says:

    I know I’m the odd-man out, but I love Daylight Savings Time. I love when the sun sets early in the evening. I don’t mind when spring is around the corner, and the sun sets closer to 6 pm instead of 5. One thing we are rooting for here in NC is some snow. We haven’t had our usual post-Christmas season snowfall, and we are frothing at the mouth. I really hope it happens before my 40th birthday in a couple of weeks, and I really hope we can have some good wintery moments before spring comes roaring in.

  12. Emmi says:

    Listen, I am in Germany and this morning I realized that my work calendar has an automatic entry for Groundhog Day! I love it! This is a harmless but super cute event, that groundhog looks fluffy and adorable! We live in crappy times so I say let’s enjoy this groundhog with the crazy name and ignore his obvious incompetence. LOL

  13. SarahCS says:

    With 40% accuracy I think there is ground for hope here.

    More importantly, as a Brit I was so shocked to learn this is a real thing! Obviously I’d seen the film but I had not idea it was based on anything real until a few years ago. The wonders of the internet.

    • Imara219 says:

      Ahhh, lol my fond childhood memory of watching the evening news and seeing if Phil saw his shadow. My state has Sir Walter Wally (he retired this year, so no prediction). It was always a spot of joy at the beginning of the February news cycle.

  14. Mireille says:

    In my parents backyard, they used to have a chubby little groundhog who resided underneath the shed only to come out once in awhile to eat the dropped fruit from an Asian pear tree. Loved that little scavenger.

    I’m here to advocate for Phil. How would anyone like it if you got pulled from your slumber to be forced to see or not see your shadow? Has anyone considered HIS feelings??!!!! That being said, he’s adorable and I gotta admit the “Phil groupies” are laughably cute. I hope they give him extra veggies and fruit for disturbing his sleep.

  15. Christine says:

    Where I’m from in the Midwest, our winter weather doesn’t really kick in until Feb/Mar anyway. We get false winter (warmer temps with occasional snow or really cold days) almost every Dec/early Jan so by the time March comes around and you get hit with a major snowstorm, it really sucks lol.

  16. HeyKay says:

    As a life long Minnesotan who hates all things snow, the crummy driving, slippery walking, the never ending shoveling, and re-shoveling after the snow plows block your driveway, etc.
    Not to mention the devils own freezing windchills, whiteout blizzards…You are not missing a dang thing.
    My area has had a stupidly huge snowfall so far, and we can get more all the way thru March, early April.

    Keep Spring is coming hope alive!

  17. Gabby says:

    Where I live, 6 more weeks of winter means freezing rain and sleet, and neighbors who still won’t take their Christmas decorations down. Damn you groundhog!

  18. j.ferber says:

    I kind of love all handlers now wear leather gloves with Phil, after he bit Mayor Guiliani one February. Good times. Phil is not only a great judge of the seasons, but a great judge of character, too. God bless Phil and his sharp little teeth.

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      Guiliani would deserve a good bite. Thought it was Staten Island’s Charles G. Hogg that bit Mayor Bloomberg though? Which, as another of seer of seers, CGH saw into the future that Bloomberg would become buds with Prince William and expressed his thoughts with a bite.

  19. j.ferber says:

    Agreatreckoning, Glad to see another New Yorker on the site. Maybe it was my own wishful remembering?