Heroes Science

This Just In From Gobbler’s Knob…

Punxsutawney Phil in his natural habitat: A cage, just after seeing his shadow predicting six more weeks of winter. February 2, 2014. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Punxsutawney Phil in his natural habitat: A giant plastic tube– just after seeing his shadow predicting six more weeks of polar vortex. February 2, 2014. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty)

Since 1887, the fine people of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania have been using skittish woodchucks to predict the weather as crowds of fair-weather fans gather by the tens of thousands to hear the beast speak and reveal its Dark arts wisdom for the ages, for the next six weeks.

Scarf, or neckerchief?

Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow on Sunday and predicted six more weeks of winter, much to the chagrin of those hoping for an early spring.

The rotund rodent exited his subterranean residence at Gobblers Knob in the western Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney around 7:30 a.m. on Groundhog Day.

Punxsutawney Phil, or Phillip, never asked for any of this. The power, fame and fortune.

The Pennsylvania Tourism Bureau estimates that approximately 20,000-25,000 visitors will descend on the town this weekend to see if “Punxsutawney Phil” will spy his shadow, filling the hotels, restaurants and shops of the town and surrounding area.

The bureau says that the average visitor spends $200 on lodging, food, gas and souvenirs during their stay, meaning that tourists could bring in as much as $5 million to the local economy.

If we’re judging based on accuracy, sure, he’s no role model. But for a little groundhog making a $5 million difference in the community while bringing people together, Phil makes it rain. And for that, he’s a weather genius.

  • swift_4

    So I live in New England, where today I was outside wearing a t-shirt and washing my car. It’s February, by the way. So am I going to get six more weeks of this “winter”, or am I going to get even one straight week of real February weather?

  • muselet

    Six more weeks of sun and 65°? However will I survive?

    *runs away ahead of angry mob*


    • MrDHalen

      We’ll die this summer of thirst!

      • muselet

        In case you didn’t know, this is why we’re so parched: the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge.

        The drought is going to get worse before it gets better.


  • bbiemeret

    Didn’t know where else to post this, but I just learned that Phillip Seymour Hoffman is dead, apparent drug OD. A great actor, he will be missed. RIP.

    • muselet

      That’s a shame. I didn’t see much of his work, but I was impressed by the performances I did see.