Groundhog day eagerly awaited

2010-02-02 15:31

Punxsutawney -Thousands of people are expected to gather before dawn in western Pennsylvania to await a weather forecast by the world's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.

German tradition holds that if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on February 2  - the Christian holiday of Candlemas - winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, legend says spring will come early.

The Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club annually announces Phil's forecast at dawn on Gobbler's Knob, about 105km northeast of Pittsburgh.

The National Weather Service has forecast -9° C and overcast skies for the announcement.

The Groundhog Club says since 1887 Phil has predicted more winter weather by seeing his shadow nearly 100 times, but there are no records for nine years.