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It's Groundhog Day again in the United States

It's Groundhog Day again in the United States

For the last two years, Phil has got his predictions wrong. This, his male handlers in top hats dramatically said, signals an early start to spring and an end to winter.

In reality, Phil's prediction is decided ahead of time by a group on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney.

For the past 133 years, Punxsutawney's famous, weather-forecasting groundhog, Phil, has been fetched from his burrow mid-winter February 2 by members of the Inner Circle and raised overhead his thousands of worldwide followers who rely upon his prediction.

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Just when you thought the holidays were over, Groundhog Day rolls around again to remind you that, somewhere out there, a bunch of people have flocked to a small town in Pennsylvania to wait for a large rodent to predict the weather. Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning, meaning that spring is on its way. So is it early spring or more winter forecast. If it sees his shadow (denoting that it's a clear day out), the winter will carry on for six more weeks.

What does the official Groundhog Day website say? The news arrived on Saturday, which marks Groundhog Day in 2019. On that day, superstition held that if it were sunny and clear, a long winter was expected.

Chattanooga Chuck, a distant cousin of our friend Phil, will make a similar, if less opulent, appearance Saturday morning at 10:30am at the Tennessee Aquarium's River Journey lobby. The Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper of Punxsutawney, Penn., first mentioned Groundhog Day predictions in 1886. They also whistle when searching for a female groundhog, giving the creatures the nickname of "whistle pigs".