Today is Groundhog Day and plenty of St. Louisans will be paying attention to what that furry prognosticator - Punxsutawney Phil - has to say about the weather over the next 6 weeks. They're responsible for planning the events around Groundhog Day (no small feat, considering this year's events span more than a week) and caring for Phil. It has become an excuse for a massive party in Punxsutawney, and inspired college kids around the area to drink while they wait for Phil.
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In the event that Phil didn't see his shadow, it would have been a late-winter.
If you ask Phil's handlers, called - no joke - the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, the groundhog's predictions aren't geographically specific (they always come to pass somewhere). In 2015, the Washington Post put together a graphic depicting how the groundhog's prediction played out for different districts around the country. It gets pretty weird. The original Milltown Mel died in July 2015, but his friend took over his name and has carried on with the tradition. That full prediction can be read on the scroll below, but it can also be easily summarized: Six more weeks of winter.
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The officials weren't authorized to speak on the record and briefed reporters on condition of anonymity. Several children were also affected, the group said.
Punxsutawney might be less accurate than the flip of a coin. Murray, who plays a weatherman in the film, gets trapped in a time warp and has to relive the day over and over again until he gets it right. The month of March was so warm, fruit trees blossomed early. February 2017 was the second-warmest February on record. Records dating to 1887 show Phil has predicted more winter 102 times, while forecasting an early spring just 18 times.
Groundhog Day: to shadow or not to shadow? The zoo's groundhog Chuck has made weather predictions for more than three decades.
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