American “people’s meteorologist” Groundhog Phil from the town of Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania predicted on Sunday that spring will come early this year.
The five-kilogram groundhog was retrieved early in the morning from its burrow on Gobbler Knob hill. According to popular belief, if a Groundhog is afraid of its shadow and hides in a hole, then the winter will last another six weeks. If the weather is cloudy and Phil does not see his shadow, then the early arrival of spring is expected.
“Since there is no shadow, spring will come early,” declared one of the representatives of the “Groundhog Club,” traditionally speaking in a top hat and tuxedo on behalf of Phil and addressing several thousand people who gathered for the occasion in Punxsutawney. According to the broadcast, which was conducted on the club’s website, on Sunday morning it was snowing in the town, the air temperature was just above zero.
The right to announce the forecast is given to Bill Dilly, President of the so-called Inner circle, which unites those residents who have kept this tradition for many years. More than 20 thousand tourists come to participate in the ascent of the Gobbler Knob hill, where it is most convenient for a marmot to “make a forecast.”
The tradition of determining the arrival of spring by observing the behavior of a rodent came to North America along with immigrants from Germany. A badger performed the role of weather forecaster in Germany in the XIX century. There are no badgers in the state of Pennsylvania, so the settlers assigned this task to the Groundhog, whose full title is “Punxsutawney Phil, seer of seers, wisest of sages, greatest of fortune-tellers, and authorized weather herald.”