Punxsutawney Phil predicts longer winter

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Sunday.
Posted By Kate Stanton  |  Feb. 2, 2014 at 6:32 PM
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PUNXSUTAWNEY , Pa., Feb. 2 (UPI) -- In grand Groundhog Day tradition, Punxsutawney Phil gave his not-so-scientific prediction of this winter's longevity this Sunday. It's bad news for believers.

This year, the Pennsylvania-based groundhog stepped out of his burrow at at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., and saw his shadow.

According to popular folklore, this means that Americans can expect six more weeks of winter.

Though Punxsutawney Phil's website insists on his accuracy, most meteorologists note that the famed groundhog doesn't always get it right.

Phil has seen his shadow 100 times since recording started in 1887. He hasn't seen his shadow 17 times.

According to AccuWeather, the forecasting groundhog has accurately predicted a longer winter 80 percent of the time.

But he's not exactly taking a wild guess. Spring officially begins each year on March 20, about seven weeks after Groundhog Day.

Last year, an Ohio prosecutor issued a joke "indictment" of Punxsutawney Phil for incorrectly predicting that winter would end early.

"[Phil] did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause people to believe that spring would come early," Michael Gmoser said last March. "I woke up this morning and the wind was blowing, the snow was flying, the temperatures were falling, and I said 'Punxsutawney, you let us down,'" he said.

You can watch video of Phil's 2014 prognostication here.

[CNN, NOAA, AccuWeather]

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