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6 more weeks of Winter or early Spring?

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 02 2013 04:59:40 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 02 2013 05:16:35 PM CST

Local groundhog disagrees with Phil

The arrival of February brings an important date.  We're not talking about Super Bowl Sunday or Valentine's Day, February 2nd is Groundhog Day.  And it's not complete without the predictions of Pennsylvania's famous furry weather forecaster.  But Saturday Punxsutawney Phil and Patty Pagoda prognosticated different predictions.

Thousands of people gathered Saturday at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, PA.  For the 127th celebration of Groundhog Day everyone was ready for Phil's prediction.

"There is no shadow to see, an early Spring for you and me," read a member of Phil's Inner Circle.

At the same time on Mount Penn in Reading fans were waking Patti Pagoda to give her guess.  For the eight year in a row her forecast was clear.

"She saw her shadow, six more weeks of winter."

Two different predictions from Pennsylvania's prognosticators.  The tradition comes with a lot of fanfare, but do folks around here even care?

"I'm indifferent about Groundhog Day," said Kristen Oelthen-Bruns.

"I think it's kind of a weird thing," shared Beth Witte.  "I think they torture that little animal."

"I think it's great to see, if he sees his shadow," added Gale Adam.

Phil's accuracy to foretell when winter's chill will end is the subject of debate.  AccuWeather finds the furry rodent 80% accurate, while other groups say it's closer to 39%.

"I think stats can sway in anyone's favor if you do it long enough," smiled Steve Panzera.

"I don't think his predictions are really that great," said Adam.

"I don't really believe that Punxsutawney Phil is going to tell us that spring or winter is going to come early or stay around longer," shared Oeltjen-Bruns.

Whether you buy into the tradition or not, the festival dates back to the 18th or 19th century.  Historical roots of the Groundhog Day celebration stretch back to ancient pagan midwinter celebrations and the medieval Christian feast of Candlemas.