Punxsutawney Phil forecasts six more weeks of winter on Superbowl Sunday, which just happens to fall on Groundhog Day, the first time ever. The Groundhog Day event was held in western Pennsylvania in the town of Punxsutawney. At approximately 7:20 am this morning the rodent came out of his underground existence at Goblers Knob and saw a shadow, that being his very own. According to tradition our winter is now extended for another six weeks.
So according to that fury animal, rather rodent named Phil, we have six more weeks of winter. What does that mean, precisely? It means six more weeks of snow with freezing temperatures.
This has become an annual event and groundhogs have offered predictions of this very kind since 1887. A movie in 1993 titled “Groundhog Day” made it very popular. The hit starred Bill Murray and record numbers of people, as many as 30,000, have come to witness the event.
This Phil has met governors from Pennsylvania, been on talk shows and in 1986 went to Washington, D.C. to meet President Ronald Reagan. Groundhogs, sometimes known as woodchucks, head into hibernation when the temperatures dip and the frost arrives. They stay there until Groundhog Day comes every year on February 2nd.
Hibernation, according to groundhog.org is like being in a coma, not a deep sleep with the body temperature low, breathing is slowed considerably and the heart rate drops. Come Groundhog Day the rodent ascends out into the world and we check to see if it has seen his shadow or not.
This has been quite a cold winter and many people across the United States were hoping Punxsutawney Phil would not see his shadow, but he did. Arctic chills with snow has dumped record snow, dropped temperatures below zero for periods of time. Even the South became paralyzed when Atlanta motorists could not move their cars, as highways became parking lots and school children spent the night in schools by the thousands, which was a first. Chicago has been hit with four feet of snow already. This is more than the two previous winters. Last month Detroit had 39 inches, which was a record for that city.
The Groundhog Club expects 20,000 people will witness the event, according to its director Katie Donald. Groundhog Day and the Superbowl are one in the same this year as Punxsatawney Phil will forecast his traditional outlook on Superbowl Sunday.
The whole idea of watching a rodent climb out of a hole and watch it to see a shadow stems from a German tradition. The superstition says if a hibernating animal sees his shadow on February 2nd, which is a holiday, The Christian Candlemas, then you will have six weeks of winter added to your present winter season.
They say he has seen his shadow 101 times and not seen it just 17. This was the 128th celebration according to the organizers from the Groundhog Club.
Today the National Weather Service issued storm warnings and advisories for 18 states as Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Superbowl Sunday.
By Kim Troike