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Punxsutawney Phil Preps for Prediction 02/02 06:09


   PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) -- It's Groundhog Day and people are waiting to learn 
whether a furry critter in a western Pennsylvania town will predict an early 
spring or six more weeks of winter.

   People will gather Thursday at Gobbler's Knob as members of Punxsutawney 
Phil's "inner circle" summon 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. If he doesn't, spring comes early.

   The "inner circle" is a group of local dignitaries who are responsible for 
planning the events, as well as feeding and caring for Phil himself.

   The annual event in Punxsutawney originated from a German legend about a 
furry rodent. Officials in the community -- which is about 65 miles (105 
kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh -- are hoping the usual crowd of between 
10,000 to 15,000 visitors comes out for the event, which will also be 

   According to records dating back to 1887, Phil has predicted winter more 
than 100 times. Ten years were lost because no records were kept, organizers 

   The 2021 forecast called for six more weeks of winter.

   While Punxsutawney Phil may be the most famous groundhog seer, he's 
certainly not the only one. New York City's Staten Island Chuck will also make 
his prediction Thursday during an event at the Staten Island Zoo.

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