PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. – 13, 000 witness the world’s famous groundhog saw his shadow Monday morning, February 2, 2009, predicting six more weeks of extended winter. The groundhog, also famous as Punxsutawney Phil, surfaced just before dawn in front of the celebrating crowd of Punxsutawney after Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl victory the night before.
According to tradition, if the famous “seer of seers and prognosticator of prognosticators”, sees his shadow and returns to his hole, the United States will have six more weeks of winter, otherwise, spring will arrive early. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club informed the crowd subsequently after Phil acknowledged Steelers’ 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals. This annual ritual, as part of the groundhog fans’ celebration, takes place on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill in Punxsutawney, a borough of about 6,100 residents some 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
According to the Groundhog Club, Phil, after making the prediction, speaks to the Club President in “Groundhogese”, intelligible only to the Inner Circle, a select group that take care of Phil year-round and also plan the annual ceremony; this prediction is then translated for the entire world.
The Inner Circle, as they claims that their celebrated groundhog has 100% accuracy towards weather prediction, said that since 1887, Phil has seen his shadow 97 times, hasn’t seen it 15 times, and there are no records for nine years.
Optimistic, Mickey Rowley, deputy secretary for tourism in Pennsylvania accepted the fact and appreciated as this would mean another six weeks of tourist attraction for their winter celebration. “It’s six more weeks of skiing,” Rowley said.
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