7 Things Punxsutawney Phil Wants You to Know

Call me the Weather Prophet Extraordinary

My name is Punxsutawney Phil and I'm responsible for the most famous weather forecast in the world. You've probably heard about me, but let me properly introduce myself. 

01
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About Me

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Jeff Swensen/ Getty Images

My full name is actually Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary, but you can call me Phil. Also, I'm a groundhog.

Every year on February 2nd, The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club calls me to do a very important job: predicting the weather for the next 6 weeks. 

When it's time for me to do my job, I leave my home at the Punxsutawney, PA Library and head down into a burrow at nearby Gobbler's Knob.

I spend sometime in solitude preparing until the president of the The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club lifts me out of Gobbler's Knob. First I have to smile for the camera before I tell him my long-awaited weather prognostication. Despite the common misconception, t

02
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I'm a Pro

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Tim Boyle/ Hulton Archive/ Getty Images

I've been predicting weather for a very long time, since 1887 to be exact. There's a record of all of my appearances too! Unfortunately, a few of my constituents didn't get their record keeping skills solid until 1900, so some information is missing, and and I did take one sick day in 1943.  

03
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You Can Trust Me

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Jeff Swenson/ Getty Images

I know what your thinking, "With all the fancy technology these days, why should I trust you, Phil?"

Here's the facts, kiddo. There have been several studies done measuring my success rate. My forecast matches "U.S. and Canadian temperatures for February and March somewhere between 39-61% of the time. That's actually above the 33% that could occur simply by chance."

How you like me now?!?

04
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Pennsylvania Takes Me Very Seriously

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Jeff Swenson/ Getty Images

Groundhog Day started with an announcement in the local paper, The Punxsutawney Spirit, proclaiming:

"Today is groundhog day and up to the time of going to press the beast has not seen its shadow."

By the next year, The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club was established and the tradition at Gobbler's Knob began. People were shocked at how popular Punxsutawney became because of me and my forecast.

When copy cats (or copy groundhogs) tried to do their own version of my tradition, Punxsutawney named itself the Weather Capital of the World. ​ 

05
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As for the Other Guys

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Shahar Azran/ WireImage/ Getty Images

Over at the Staten Island Zoo, there's Staten Island Chuck who makes a prediction February 2nd too. I don't really mind New York and Chuck jumping on my bandwagon with their own little ceremony. We all know who the original is. The Bill Murray movie was about my town, after all. 

06
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Way Back in the Day

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Heritage Images/ Hulton Archive/ Getty Images

Pennsylvania can't take full credit for starting Groundhog Day, though.  Loose origins are traced all the way back to the Ancient Romans and an the early Pagan festival of Imbolc.

What we celebrate in the states is closely tied to a German tradition on Candlemas, a Christian holiday, where the presence of badgers could signal the start of harvest season.

When Germans started to immigrate to Pennsylvania in the 18th century, the groundhog replaced the badger because, well, there's just more of us in the states.

07
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Spring is Coming

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Jeff Goulden/ E+/ Getty Images

People look to me for news they want to hear on February 2nd, but  there's just no pleasing everyone. If you're a snow bunny, enjoy the powder while it's here. If the cold has got you down, remember that you're half way there! You just got to make it to the vernal equinox on March 20.