Punxsutawney Phil Calls For More Winter

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PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (CBS News) — The handlers of Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, say the furry rodent has “predicted” six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow.

Members of Punxsutawney Phil’s top hat-wearing inner circle revealed their “forecast” at sunrise Thursday.

The festivities have their origin in a German legend that says if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Feb. 2, winter continues. If not, spring comes early.

In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney. That’s about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Records dating to 1887 show Phil  has now predicted more winter 103 times while forecasting an early spring just 18 times – including last year. There are no records for the remaining years.

Jeff Grube, member of the “Groundhog Inner Circle,” told CBS Pittsburgh that the movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray has increased the crowds at Gobbler’s Knob since its release in 1993.

“That just got us such a wide notoriety that the crowds probably grew by 10 times,” Grube said.