Published on : Saturday, February 4, 2017
Pennsylvania’s world-famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow this morning in the Pennsylvania Wilds. Thousands of fans watched as Phil made his highly-anticipated weather prognostication, commemorating 131 years of Pennsylvania’s unique Groundhog Day tradition.
According to holiday folklore, if the groundhog emerges in the early morning on February 2 and sees his shadow, six more weeks of wintry weather are expected.
“Each February, the eyes of the world turn to Punxsutawney, a town of just 5,500 residents, that represents the charm and history of so many of our small towns across Pennsylvania,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “In addition to Punxsutawney’s quirky appeal, this event spurs a tourism boost, adding $1 million to the region’s economy annually. Through this event, the local economy is stimulated significantly with vendors and shops experiencing increased sales and hotels lodging, restaurants, and other businesses in the hospitality industry accommodating high numbers of patrons.”
Groundhog Day, a popular tradition in the United States, has a long history, crossing centuries and different ethnic cultures. More recently, the annual Pennsylvania event that started with a small group of men known as the Inner Circle now attracts up to 30,000 visitors to Punxsutawney, Jefferson County, about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
“It is an honor to help share Punxsutawney Phil’s prognostication with the world,” said Groundhog Club Inner Circle President Bill Deeley. “For more than 130 years, Punxsutawney Phil has been the only true weather forecasting groundhog and he’s right 100 percent of the time, of course!”
Phil’s prediction is broadcast each year on visitPA.com which results in the largest single day of traffic to the website. In 2016, the website received more than 287,000 page views, a new record which is expected to be broken this year.
“Groundhog Day is a great way to introduce children to the excitement of weather forecasting,” said Janice Dean, Fox News meteorologist and the 2017 inductee into the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center’s Meteorologist Hall of Fame. “I hope the enthusiasm surrounding this morning’s prognostication inspires a future generation of meteorologists.”