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Punxsutawney Phil: Spring is coming early this year

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — Punxsutawney Phil says spring will be coming early this year! His prediction made history as the first time ever he predicted the second consecutive early spring.

Phil emerged from his burrow on Gobbler’s Knob around 7:30 a.m. to tens of thousands of loyal fans. He did not see his shadow and no shadow means spring is just around the corner.

I love Groundhog Day. I get excited about it every year. I’ve been there to cover it for work and report live on Phil’s annual prediction. I’ve stayed up all night and trekked to Gobbler’s Knob with friends for a great weekend trip. I think Groundhog Day is amazing, but it’s not real.

Just look at the raw numbers. Since 1887 Phil has seen his shadow 104 times (records are not available for 10 years for some reason. I’d like to lose 10 years’ worth of my forecasts, too). You’re telling me in northwestern Pennsylvania during one of the cloudiest months of the year it has been clear enough for a groundhog to see it’s shadow 85% of the time? Look, I’ve been up there when it’s been foggy, drizzling, can’t see a mile and miraculously, there it is - shadow! I blame all the camera lights.

In 1919 Phil saw his shadow; six more weeks of winter. We saw only 3.7 inches of snow the rest of the season. Normal winter snowfall is closer to 20 inches.

In 2013 Phil didn’t see his shadow, which meant spring was near. We had 2 1/2 feet of snow over the next two months.

My favorite, in 2016 Phil predicted spring was just around the corner. It snowed in May that year. MAY!

Last year Phil predicted an early spring again. Temperatures the rest of the winter averaged nearly half a degree colder than normal.

Look, as a weatherperson myself, I realize I live in a glass house and should not be throwing stones on Phil’s predictions. But there are some people who truly believe this is a real thing, that there is some scientific backing to it. There isn’t any at all but, it is such a phenomenal time and experience.

I recommend everyone go to Punxsutawney for Groundhog Day at least once in their lifetime. You might not run into Bill Murray, but you will have stories to tell for the rest of your life.