In the hit 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, weatherman Bill Murray’s worst nightmare is to keep waking up in the snowy Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney — home of an overweight, prognosticating rodent named Phil. Murray’s disdain notwithstanding, Phil’s Feb. 2 forecasts have been drawing revelers to Punxsutawney for 125 years.
Today will be no exception, despite a winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service.
But not to worry: “Groundhog Day is a lot like a rock concert, but the people are better behaved and there’s a groundhog involved,” Tom Chapin, the paper’s editor told National Geographic News last Groundhog Day eve. “There’s music and entertainment, spoofs of game shows, and people shooting t-shirts and Beanie Babies” into the crowd.
If Phil emerges from his temporary burrow — a simulated tree stump at the rural site of Gobbler’s Knob — and sees his shadow, tradition has it that winter weather will continue for six more weeks. But if Phil doesn’t see his shadow — highly likely, given the grim forecast — then spring temperatures are supposedly just around the corner.