Groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, predicting early spring

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pennsylvania (AP) — It may be hard to believe as a large swath of the United States (US) thaws out from a bitter polar vortex, but spring is coming early, according to handlers for some of the country’s most famous prognosticating groundhogs.

Just before 7.30am on Saturday, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow in Pennsylvania at sunrise and didn’t see his shadow. Nearly the same series of events unfolded about 483 kilometres to the east, where Staten Island Chuck’s handlers also revealed the same prediction.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped attending Staten Island’s Groundhog Day ceremony in 2015, a year after he accidentally dropped the furry critter that died a week later. He was not the only New York City mayor who struggled with the holiday. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was bitten at a Groundhog Day ceremony in 2009.

Groundhog Club co-handler John Griffiths holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 133rd celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney. – AP