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Groundhog Day as furry forecaster foresees no early end to winter

Groundhog Club co-handler Al Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 132nd celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Pennsylvania on Friday PICTURE: Gene J Puskar/AP
Associated Press Reporters

PENNSYLVANIA'S most famous groundhog foresees no early end to winter.

Punxsutawney Phil's handlers announced that the rodent weather prognosticator saw his shadow.

Legend has it if the furry creature casts a shadow on February 2 – Groundhog Day – people can expect six more weeks of winter-like weather.

Phil the groundhog's prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill just outside of Punxsutawney about 65 miles north-east of Pittsburgh.

Spectators bundled up in warm clothes and danced to music as the temperature reached minus 12C.

Records dating to 1887 show previous Phils predicting more winter 103 times, and forecasting an early spring just 18 times. No records exist for the remaining years.

The quirky tradition was immortalised in 1993 in the hit comedy movie Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray.

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