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Long winter ahead as groundhog sees shadow

THE world's most famous groundhog saw his shadow yesterday morning, predicting the already long winter will last for six more weeks.

Punxsutawney Phil emerged just after dawn in front of an estimated 13,000 witnesses. The annual ritual takes place on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, a borough of about 6,100 residents 105 kilometers northeast of Pittsburgh, in the United States.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club announced the forecast in a short proclamation, in which Phil acknowledged the Super Bowl football championship win of the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Arizona Cardinals.

According to German superstition, 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.

Since 1887, Phil has seen his shadow 97 times, hasn't seen it 15 times, and there are no records for nine years, according to the Groundhog Club.

Rowley said the Groundhog Day festivities is the state of Pennsylvania's largest tourist gathering in the winter. And if Phil's forecast proves correct it should bring even more tourists to the state.

"It's six more weeks of skiing," Rowley said.


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