Balmy weather in February made it seem like spring was not far off. But the final word on that was due this morning when Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his lair.
If Phil misses his shadow at sunrise, then spring is right around the corner.
But the whiskered meteorologist has seen no shadow just 12 times in 111 years, leaving some locals to hope he’ll lie if things turn out otherwise.
“He can say he doesn’t see his shadow,” Marty Dunlap of Greenville said. “Or, it’s six more weeks of winter.”
Records from the National Climactic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., show Phil’s accuracy rate since 1980 to be about 59 percent.
Groundhog Day is rooted in a German superstition that if an animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2 - the Christian holiday of Candlemas - bad weather is coming.
What German settlers started in Punxsutawney 112 years ago, the members of the Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle continue when they pull Phil from a custom-made burrow.