Did The Groundhog See His Shadow? How To Watch Groundhog Day 2016 Live Online To Find Out

Did the groundhog see his shadow?

Folks will be able to watch Groundhog Day 2016 unfold live online with streaming video of Punxsutawney Phil’s big annual prediction.

Legend has it that if Phil sees his shadow on February 2, he retreats back to his burrow and the United States is doomed for six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, that means an early spring.

Though Groundhog Day is a chance for people to flock to a small town in Western Pennyslvania and party, its origins go beyond the United States. It actually dates back to an ancient pagan holiday held midway between the winter solstice and spring equinox, when sunny skies were seen as a prediction that the rest of the winter would be stormy, and cloudy skies meant warm weather was coming soon.

The holiday attracts tens of thousands of people to Punxsutawney, but those at home antsy to know if they will have six more weeks of winter will be able to watch Groundhog Day 2016 live online.

The National Centers for Environmental Information gives a bit of history showing how it grew into a very American holiday.

“The trail of Phil’s history leads back to Clymer H. Freas, city editor of the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper. Inspired by a group of local groundhog hunters—whom he would dub the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club—Freas declared Phil as America’s official forecasting groundhog in 1887. As he continued to embellish the groundhog’s story year after year, other newspapers picked it up, and soon everyone looked to Punxsutawney Phil for the prediction of when spring would return to the country.”

Unfortunately, the NCDC, in full fun-ruining mode, also noted that it doesn’t really matter what Punxsutawney Phil sees on Groundhog Day 2016 — it’s going to be cold either way.

“While Groundhog Day is a way to have a little fun at mid-winter, climate records and statistics tell us that winter probably isn’t over. Climatologically speaking, the three coldest months of the year are December, January, and February, so winter typically still has a bit to go when the groundhog comes out in search of his shadow on February 2.”

Those who watch the Groundhog Day 2016 live online won’t see a terribly accurate predictions, either. USA Today tracked Phil’s results and found that since 1988, he was “right” a total of 13 times and “wrong” times, based on national average temperatures for February.

The popularity of Punxsutawney Phil has spawned a number of other weather-predicting animals. Unfortunately, tragedy has struck one of these popular prognosticators. As the Daily Mail reported, a Canadian Groundhog Day celebration had to be canceled this week when the beloved animal, Winnipeg Willow, died just days before the event. Rather than grab a fill-in groundhog, officials decided to cancel the event entirely out of respect for the deceased rodent.

“She loved kale, green leafy lettuce, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, snap peas and of course peanuts,” officials said in a statement remembering Winnipeg Willow. “She had her moments, especially around February 2 where she could get a bit grumpy but otherwise loved to go out.”

But the most popular Groundhog Day celebration by far takes place in Punxsutawney, where people from all around the globe tune in to find out whether the groundhog saw his shadow.

Fans who want to watch Groundhog Day 2016 live online can click here for the state of Pennsylvania’s official tourism site, which has live streaming video of Punxsutawney Phil making his prediction. Coverage starts at 6 a.m. ET.

[Picture by Alex Wong/Getty Images]

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