It’s Groundhog Day and people are waiting to learn whether a furry critter in a western Pennsylvania town will predict an early spring or six more weeks of winter.
People will gather Thursday at Gobbler’s Knob as members of Punxsutawney Phil’s “inner circle” summon him from his tree stump at dawn to learn if he has seen his shadow. According to folklore, if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, spring comes early.
The “inner circle” is a group of local dignitaries who are responsible for planning the events, as well as feeding and caring for Phil himself.
The annual event in Punxsutawney originated from a German legend about a furry rodent. Officials in the community — which is about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh — are hoping the usual crowd of between 10,000 to 15,000 visitors comes out for the event, which will also be livestreamed.
According to records dating back to 1887, Phil has predicted winter more than 100 times. Ten years were lost because no records were kept, organizers said.
The 2021 forecast called for six more weeks of winter.
While Punxsutawney Phil may be the most famous groundhog seer, he’s certainly not the only one. New York City’s Staten Island Chuck will also make his prediction Thursday during an event at the Staten Island Zoo.