No early spring this year, forecasts groundhog Punxsutawney Phil

136th Groundhog Day
Punxsutawney Phil’s handler A.J. Dereume holds the famous groundhog Wednesday during the 136th Groundhog Day, at Gobblers Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
REUTERS/Alan Freed

North Americans tired of snow and storms may need patience this year before they put away their winter layers — at least according to Punxsutawney Phil, the prognosticating Pennsylvania groundhog.

Phil, who tradition says can forecast when the winter will end, dashed hopes for an early spring on Wednesday when he emerged from his tree stump and saw his shadow.

Groundhog Club Inner Circle Vice President Tom Dunkel holds the scroll with Phil’s forecast of six more weeks of winter Wednesday during the 136th Groundhog Day, at Gobblers Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.REUTERS/Alan Freed

Each year on Feb. 2 — Groundhog Day — thousands of revelers gather in the town of Punxsutawney, about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, to witness a groundhog that has been designated as “Phil” make his prediction.

According to folklore dating back to 1887, if the rodent sees his shadow on Groundhog Day frigid and blustery weather will continue for six weeks. If it is cloudy and no shadow appears, the onset of spring is near.

A sliver of hope, though, was provided by rival groundhog Staten Island Chuck, in New York’s Staten Island Zoo — he did not cast a shadow when he clambered out his home on Wednesday morning.

Groundhog Club Inner Circle President Jeff Lundy taps on Punxsutawney Phil’s stump door Wednesday during the 136th Groundhog Day, at Gobblers Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.REUTERS/Alan Freed

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