Did the Groundhog see his shadow today?
Those who want to know if there will be an early end to winter will be able to watch the Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction live online and see for themselves, with streaming video of Groundhog Day 2017 available thanks to the state of Pennsylvania’s tourism bureau. The groundhog will make his prediction early on Thursday morning.
Legend claims that if the groundhog sees his shadow, he will retreat back into his burrow and winter will continue for six more weeks. But a cloudy day will allow him to remain above ground, a sign that spring will come early.
Punxsutawney Phil makes his prediction by whispering to a group of men known as the Inner Circle, the ones seen on television coverage with top hats and dark suits. The president of this group will relay the groundhog’s prediction to the crowd, NJ.com noted.
Those looking to find out if the groundhog saw his shadow can probably guess that he’ll see his shadow. Since 1887, there have only been 18 times where the rodent didn’t see his shadow compared to 102 times where he saw it.
There have been some interesting predictions as well, Al.com noted.
“Among Phil’s more famous pronouncements was one made during anti-liquor days of prohibition, when the groundhog threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter if he wasn’t allowed a drink,” the report noted. “In 1958, Phil announced it was a ‘United States Chucknik,’ rather than a Soviet Sputnik, that became the first man-made satellite to orbit the Earth. In 1981, he donned a yellow ribbon in honor of the American hostages held in Iran.”
Those looking to find out if the groundhog saw his shadow might as well flip a coin and guess the result, the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information found. In a bit of a taxpayer-funded buzzkill, the agency compiled a report of all his predictions dating back to 1988, finding that 14 were correct and 15 were incorrect.
— NOAA Research (@NOAAResearch) February 1, 2017
Even if Phil is wrong, Groundhog Day is still fun for the tens of thousands who show up to celebrate in the small Pennsylvania town to observe a fun local tradition. The idea of a weather-predicting groundhog dates back centuries, to the earliest German settlers in Pennsylvania. They celebrated Candlemas Day on February 2, which recognizes Christ’s presentation at the Temple, and had a tradition that if there was sunlight on that day, there would be snow in May. The settlers later adopted the groundhog as harbingers of this tale, Al.com reported.
— We Love Weather (@WeLoveWeather) January 31, 2017
As NJ.com reported, the tradition of the modern Groundhog Day dates all the way back to 1887, when a local newsman turned a popular column into a local tradition.
“Phil was named by Clymer H. Freas, editor of the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper, after being inspired by a local hunting group he called the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. The group would go up to Gobbler’s Knob, Pa., to find out whether winter would linger on.
“And because Freas would write elaborate stories about the predictions, everyone started looking to Phil to announce when spring would arrive.
“Oh, and for the record — his full name is Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary.”
And according to legend, it’s been the same groundhog for all 130 years. The legend claims that he drinks a special potion every summer that extends his life by another seven years, NJ.com reported.
So did the groundhog see his shadow this year? Those who want to find out will be able to follow along live and watch for themselves. Viewers can click here for live-streaming video of Groundhog Day 2017, with coverage starting at 5 a.m. ET.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]