Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter for third year in a row

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A furry critter in a western Pennsylvania town has predicted six more weeks of winter during an annual Groundhog Day celebration.

People gathered at Gobbler’s Knob on Thursday as members of Punxsutawney Phil’s “inner circle” summoned him from his tree stump at dawn to learn if he has seen his shadow.

According to folklore, if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter.

Groundhog Club handler AJ Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil
Groundhog Club handler AJ Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil (Barry Reeger/AP)

The “inner circle” is a group of local dignitaries responsible for planning the events – as well as feeding and caring for Phil.

The annual event in Punxsutawney originated from a German legend about a furry rodent.

Rory Szwed, left, and Kent Rowan watch the festivities while waiting for Punxsutawney Phil
Rory Szwed, left, and Kent Rowan watch the festivities while waiting for Punxsutawney Phil (Barry Reeger/AP)

This year, Phil’s prediction came during a week when a mess of ice, sleet and snow has lingered across much of the southern US.

According to records dating back to 1887, Phil has predicted winter more than 100 times.

Ten years were lost because no records were kept, organisers said.

Groundhog Day
According to folklore, if Phil sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter (Barry Reeger/AP)

While Punxsutawney Phil may be the most famous groundhog seer, he is not the only one.

New York City’s Staten Island Chuck made his prediction for an early spring during an event at the Staten Island Zoo on Thursday.

AJ Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil while vice president Dan McGinley reads a scroll
AJ Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil while vice president Dan McGinley reads a scroll (Barry Reeger/AP)

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