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Handlers: Punxsutawney Phil predicts longer winter

FILE - In a Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 file photo, Groundhog Club co-handler Ron Ploucha holds the weather predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, after the club said Phil did not see his shadow and there will be an early spring, on Groundhog Day, in Punxsutawney, Pa. Groundhog Day coincides with the Super Bowl for the first time on Sunday, Feb. 2, , but Punxsutawney Phil’s people say they don’t expect the big game to steal his early morning spotlight. the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club expects about 20,000 revelers to gather around Gobbler’s Knob when western Pennsylvania’s world-famous rodent emerges from his lair just after dawn Sunday. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, FIle)
FILE - In a Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 file photo, Groundhog Club co-handler Ron Ploucha holds the weather predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, after the club said Phil did not see his shadow and there will be an early spring, on Groundhog Day, in Punxsutawney, Pa. Groundhog Day coincides with the Super Bowl for the first time on Sunday, Feb. 2, , but Punxsutawney Phil’s people say they don’t expect the big game to steal his early morning spotlight. the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club expects about 20,000 revelers to gather around Gobbler’s Knob when western Pennsylvania’s world-famous rodent emerges from his lair just after dawn Sunday. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, FIle)
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Updated: 2/02 1:37 pm
PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) - The handlers for groundhog Punxsutawney Phil say he's forecasting six more weeks of what already has felt like a brutally long and cold winter.

Pennsylvania's famed groundhog emerged from his lair in front of thousands of fans around daybreak Sunday.

Legend has it that if the furry rodent 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 ceremony on Groundhog Day each year.

Phil is the most famous of a small group of groundhogs said to forecast the weather, including Staten Island Chuck in New York and General Beauregard Lee in Atlanta.
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