Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow, predicts early spring

THE world’s most famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil has revealed spring is coming early.

Groundhog Club co-handler Al Dereume, second from right, holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 133rd celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. Picture: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Handlers for Pennsylvania’s revered prognosticating groundhog say he didn’t see his shadow when the sun rose Saturday.

The festivities have their origin in a German legend that says if a furry rodent casts a shadow on 2 February then winter continues. If not, spring comes early.

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In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney. That’s about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

The quirky tradition was popularised on global level in 1993 in the film Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray.

In the film, weatherman Phil Connors (Murray) travels to the town of Punxsutawney to cover the Groundhog Day festivities but ends up stuck there and relives the same day over and over again.