Handlers: Punxsutawney Phil predicts longer winter

Feb 2, 2014, 3:42 PM | Updated: 4:32 pm

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) – Emerging from his lair on Super Bowl Sunday, groundhog Punxsutawney Phil couldn’t predict the winner of the big game but his handlers said he was sure of his weather forecast: There will be six more weeks of winter.

Pennsylvania’s famed groundhog was roused from slumber at 7:28 a.m. Sunday and, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, directed handler Bill Deeley to a scroll that contained the prediction _ along with a Super Bowl reference.

As usual, thousands of fans turned out on Groundhog Day to see the furry rodent, the most famous of a small group of groundhogs said to forecast the weather.

Legend has it that if the groundhog sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last another month-and-a-half. If he doesn’t see it, spring will come early.

In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by a group called the Inner Circle, whose members don top hats and tuxedos for the annual ceremony on Gobbler’s Knob, the tiny hill in the town for which he’s named about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

The prediction fell on Super Bowl Sunday for the first time. The closest the game previously came to coinciding with Groundhog Day was in 2009, when the just-down-the-road Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 the night before Phil’s forecast.

This year’s NFL championship pitting the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., will be the Super Bowl’s 48th installment, while Phil has been predicting the weather since 1886.

In a nod to the game, Phil’s forecast came in the form of a Super Bowl-themed poem:

“A Super Bowl winner I will not predict,

But my weather forecast, you cannot contradict,

That’s not a football lying beside me

It’s my shadow you see

So, six more weeks of winter it shall be!”

This year’s Groundhog Day celebration marks a winter that has brought extreme cold to vast stretches of the country, including areas of the South wholly unaccustomed to severe winter weather. A snow and ice storm paralyzed Atlanta and other Southern cities last week.

Phil has now seen his shadow 101 times while failing to see it 17 times, according to the Inner Circle. There are no records for the remaining years.

The National Climatic Data Center has put Phil’s forecasts to the test and found them sorely lacking, declaring the groundhog has “no predictive skill.”

“It really isn’t a `bright’ idea to take a measure such as a groundhog’s shadow and use it as a predictive meteorological tool for the entire United States,” the data center says on its website, helpfully if somewhat obviously.

Other prognosticating groundhogs include Staten Island Chuck in New York and General Beauregard Lee in Atlanta.

___

Rubinkam reported from northeast Pennsylvania.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

This image provided by WOI-TV, shows reporter Nora J.S. Reichardt. The Des Moines television report...
Associated Press

Iowa reporter announces on newscast that she is transgender

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines television reporter announced this week on a newscast that she will publicly identify as a transgender woman. Nora J.S. Reichardt of WOI-TV said that for a long time she didn’t think she would be able to reveal her identity on air. “I didn’t know if there was […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

“Queen of the House” singer Jody Miller dies at age 80

BLANCHARD, Okla. (AP) — Jody Miller, whose “Queen of the House” won the 1966 Grammy Award for best country performance by a woman, died Thursday at age 80. Miller died in her hometown of Blanchard, Oklahoma, of complications from Parkinson’s disease, according to Universal Music Group, owner of Capitol Records, which released most of her […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

Biden to designate his 1st national monument in Colorado

DENVER (AP) — The Biden administration is preparing to designate its first new national monument, preserving a World War 2-era alpine training site and providing a boost to the reelection campaign of the state’s senior Senator, Michael Bennet, according to a person familiar with the process. The designation is expected to come next week, when […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Comedian Judy Tenuta arrives at the Gridlock New Year's Eve party at Paramount Studios in Lo...
Associated Press

Judy Tenuta, brash ‘Goddess of Love’ comedian, dies at 72

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Judy Tenuta, a brash standup who cheekily styled herself as the “Goddess of Love” and toured with George Carlin as she built her career in the 1980s golden age of comedy, died Thursday. She was 72. Tenuta died Thursday afternoon at home in Los Angeles, with her family around her, publicist […]
17 hours ago
(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)...
KTAR.com

Iowa man accused of making election-related threats to Arizona officials

An Iowa man was arrested on Thursday for allegedly sending election-related threats to two Arizona officials last year, including Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman, authorities said.
17 hours ago
This combination photo shows Angelina Jolie at a premiere in Los Angeles on Sept. 30, 2019, left, a...
Associated Press

Lawyer: Pitt will keep responses to abuse account in court

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brad Pitt’s lawyer said Thursday that he will continue to respond in court to allegations from ex-wife Angelina Jolie that he abused her and choked one of their children on a flight in 2016, saying he has taken responsibility for his actual actions but not aspects of her story that are […]
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Handlers: Punxsutawney Phil predicts longer winter