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Groundhog predicts an early spring

posted 2 Feb 2011, 06:15 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 2 Feb 2011, 06:56 ]

The famous groundhog Punxsatawney Phil predicts an early end to winter.

PUNXSATAWNEY, PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES (FEBRUARY 2, 2011) PENNSYLVANIA SATELLITE NEWS SERVICE - The famous groundhog Punxsatawney Phil emerged from his burrow and saw no shadow early on Wednesday morning (February 2), thereby predicting an early spring.

Tradition holds that Phil, named for the Pennsylvania town where he lives, can predict the end of winter on February 2nd each year..

If Phil sees his shadow and returns to his burrow, winter will continue for six more weeks. If he sees no shadow and remains outside the burrow, spring is around the corner.

The annual ceremony is led by a group known as the Inner Circle who dress in tuxedos and coax the marmot from its cave within an old tree stump.

The president of the Inner Circle is said to understand and translate "Groundhogese," the language that, according to the tradition, Phil uses to communicate his prediction.

"Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, on Gobbler's Knob on this beautiful Groundhog Day, February 2, 2011, Punxsatawney Phil was raised from his burrow by the call of President Bill Deeley. He greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths, and after casting an inquisitive eye towards thousands of his faithful followers, he proclaimed 'The Steelers are going to the Superbowl,'" Groundhog Inner Circle Vice President Mike Johnston joked.

"He surveyed his surroundings carefully and found that there was no shadow around, so an early spring it will be," Johnston added, prompting cheers from a crowd dressed in warm winter coats and hats.

The 2011 Groundhog Day forecast came as a massive storm system blanketed the Midwest, Northeast and even Texas in snow and ice.