PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — To the relief of the winter-weary, the world's most famous groundhog is predicting an early spring.
Punxsutawney Phil emerged around dawn on Groundhog Day on Wednesday to make his 125th annual weather forecast in front of thousands who braved muddy, icy conditions to hear his handlers reveal that Pennsylvania's prophetic rodent had not seen his shadow.
Phil's handlers, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's Inner Circle, concoct the forecasts. Several thousand revelers gathered in the pre-dawn hours on a small hill called Gobbler's Knob to hear the prediction.
Before Wednesday, Phil had seen his shadow 98 times and hadn't seen it 15 times since 1887. There are no records for the remaining years, though the group has never failed to issue a forecast.
The tradition traces its origins to a German superstition.