03 February, 2019
As on every February 2, thousands of people gathered in the early morning at Gobbler's Knob, to see live the forecast of the famous groundhog, a tradition dating back to 1887.
For a groundhog, Phil is surprisingly accurate.
It may be hard to believe as a large swath of the US thaws out from a bitter polar vortex, but spring is coming early, according to handlers for some of the country's most famous prognosticating groundhogs.
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A year ago in January, the practice tested 268 patients and saw 107 positive results with Influenza B being the most common. The 2009 H1N1 strain is still dominant in most of the country, except for in the southeast where H3N2 has been more common.
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The under is also 8-2 in the Patriots' last 10 games overall and has cashed in four of their last five road games. The Chiefs just overpowered the physical Indianapolis Colts , who previously had been the hottest team in the NFL.
Each year, Americans wait with bated breath to learn from a groundhog if spring will come sooner rather than later.
On the TV behind the bar, men in top hats and tuxedos dance on a stage in Punxsutawney, a Pennsylvania town some 270 miles away that has made an industry out of a day devoted to a woodchuck. The following year brought the first official trek to Gobbler's Knob (he did not see his shadow that year).
Legend has it that Phil is the only Pennsylvania groundhog to have predicted winter's length, though the lifespan of a groundhog is around just six years.
Despite Phil and other groundhogs' predictions of an early spring, meteorologists said the groundhogs do not have an advantage in predicting the weather during the past few years. On that day, superstition held that if it were sunny and clear, a long winter was expected.
'If I were you I'd go out and buy swimsuits, ' he told the crowd after waking up Phil just after 7.27am. Pennsylvania German settlers pulled the tradition from European weather lore that used the appearance of hibernators, like badgers, as a sign it was time to prepare for spring. It was then that a newspaper editor who happened to be a part of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club declared that Punxsutawney Phil was America's only true weather-forecasting groundhog.