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Punxsutawney Phil Scoffs At The Idea Of An Early Spring

February 2, 2015

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, which, according to tradition, portends another six weeks of winter.

On an overcast morning, Phil the groundhog gazed at the sky, looked for his shadow and at about 7:25 a.m. ET told his handler Bill Deeley his prediction: "Forecasts abound on the Internet, but, I, Punxsutawney Phil am still your best bet. Yes, a shadow I see, you can start to Twitter, hash tag: Six more weeks of winter!"

Phil's prediction on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., came as a winter storm moved from the Midwest to the Northeast.

According to lore, if Phil sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last another six weeks. If not, spring will come early.

Phil's accuracy is debatable. Famously, in 2013 he predicted an early spring. What we got was several more winter storms after that call. Deely, his handler, issued a mea culpa at the time: "I'm the guy that did it; I'll be the fall guy. It's not Phil's fault."

Last year, Phil predicted six more weeks of winter and got it right. But as NPR's Scott Neuman noted: "According to Stormfax.com, the groundhog method of forecasting is, well, less than reliable. Phil's gotten it right just 39 percent of the time since 1887. Weather models, probabilities and all else aside, that's worse than a simple coin toss."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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