Same old Groundhog Day; Phil's forecast due in Pennsylvania
PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. - Punxsutawney Phil, a famed U.S. groundhog with an even more famous shadow, huddled in his burrow on Sunday as winter lovers and haters waited for him to emerge and signal how much longer frigid weather will last.
If Phil sees his shadow - the legend goes - there will be six more weeks of snow and freezing temperatures. If he does not, we can expect an early spring.
The Sunday forecast from Weather.com is for snow showers and temperatures ranging between 16 and 34 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 8 and 1 Celsius).
Groundhogs have been been offering weather predictions in the tiny town since 1887. After the movie was released, record crowds numbering as high as 30,000 have been drawn to the event, the website says.
With a shadow powerful enough to lift spirits - or dash them - Phil has met with Pennsylvania governors and appeared on national television talk shows and New York City's Times Square JumboTron. In 1986, he even traveled to Washington to meet with President Ronald Reagan, groundhog.org said.
Phil's busy schedule is packed into the months before groundhogs, also called woodchucks, go into hibernation - usually after the first frost, according to NationalGeographic.com.
Hibernation is less like a deep sleep and more like a coma, with the groundhog's heart rate plunging, blood scarcely flowing, body temperature dropping to a few degrees above freezing and breathing nearly stopped, said groundhog.org.