Early spring predicted as groundhog does not see shadow

Jeff Swensen Getty Images

Early spring predicted as groundhog does not see shadow

So is it early spring or more winter forecast.

TIME tested the accuracy of various groundhogs based on their ability to predict the weather of their relative geographic area.

Why is Groundhog Day a thing?

According to Phil, Winter is over! If the hedgehog saw its shadow, that meant they could expect six more weeks of winter temperatures. On Candlemas, the clergy would bless and give out candles to last congregants for the rest of winter.

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. Since hedgehogs aren't native to the United States, another hibernating animal was chosen in their stead: the groundhog.

Chattanooga Chuck, a distant cousin of our friend Phil, will make a similar, if less opulent, appearance Saturday morning at 10:30am at the Tennessee Aquarium's River Journey lobby.

The annual event began in 1886, when a spirited group of groundhog hunters dubbed themselves "The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club" and proclaimed Punxsutawney Phil to be the one and only groundhog meteorologist.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped attending Staten Island's Groundhog Day ceremony in 2015, a year after he accidentally dropped the furry critter that died a week later. They also whistle when searching for a female groundhog, giving the creatures the nickname of "whistle pigs".

NOAA has said that Punxsutawney Phil has "no predictive skill," and looking back at the past 10 years, Phil's been accurate about 40 percent of the time. His predictions were wrong in both 2017 and 2018.

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