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Associated Press
Punxsutawney Phil is held by Ron Ploucha after emerging from his burrow Sunday.

Thanks, Phil: Longer winter gets furry nod

– Emerging from his lair on Super Bowl Sunday, groundhog Punxsutawney Phil couldn’t predict the winner of the big game, but his handlers said he was sure of his weather forecast: There will be six more weeks of winter.

Pennsylvania’s famed groundhog was roused from slumber at 7:28 a.m. Sunday and, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, directed handler Bill Deeley to a scroll that contained the prediction – along with a Super Bowl reference.

Legend has it that if the groundhog sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last another month-and-a-half. If he doesn’t see it, spring will come early.

In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by a group called the Inner Circle, whose members don top hats and tuxedos for the annual ceremony on Gobbler’s Knob, the tiny hill in the town for which he’s named.

The prediction fell on Super Bowl Sunday for the first time. In a nod to the game, Phil’s forecast came in the form of a Super Bowl-themed poem:

“A Super Bowl winner I will not predict,

But my weather forecast, you cannot contradict,

That’s not a football lying beside me

It’s my shadow you see

So, six more weeks of winter it shall be!”

– Associated Press

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