NYC mayor: Others are 'more adept' at handling groundhogs

Punxsutawney Phil Season Prediction Winter Shadow Pennsylvania

Another first-timer, Tru Roberts, of Columbus, said he loved the 1993 movie "Groundhog Day", which is about a weatherman who lives the same day over and over again while covering Punxsutawney Phil's emergence from his burrow.

The holiday stems from a German holiday known as Candlemas Day, which celebrated the ritual purification of Mary during the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox.

If the rodent sees its shadow, then it will retreat back to its burrow and winter will continue, according to legend.

Phil emerged from his home at Gobbler's Knob, a little clearing in the woods a few miles from the city center of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Did the groundhog see his shadow?

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Spectators bundled up and bopped to music amid the camp and kitsch with the temperature around 11 degrees (minus-12 Celsius).

The weird tradition of asking groundhogs what they think about the arrival of spring weather is an imported idea from Germany, where they originally used European badgers for the task.

Revelers bear frigid cold temperatures and gather at Gobbler's Knob from as early as 1am that morning, waiting for the appearance of the furry critter.

Even though he's been forecasting since 1887, Phil's track record for the entire country isn't flawless. If not, spring is just around the corner.

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"Your hands and my paws are getting cold", a ceremony leader read from a tiny scroll. Not lead, but solid gold: I see my royal shadow!

"We are still more than 3.5" behind in rainfall for the month, so any rain will be a big help over the next couple of weeks!

Human weather predictors say this winter should be a bit colder than a year ago with plenty of chances for snow. Chuck - a three-decade veteran of weather predictions - did not see his shadow.

Phil has been predicting the arrival of spring since 1887 - but his accuracy leaves something to be desired.

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The safety measures were adapted after Mayor DeBlasio dropped Charlotte - a female groundhog standing in as Chuck - in 2014.

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