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Behold, the amazing groundhog meteorologist. 

Melanie Lieberman
February 01, 2018

The history of Groundhog Day can be traced back to 1887, when a newspaper editor — who moonlighted as a groundhog hunter — from Punxsutawney, Philadelphia, declared that the town was home to a veritable weather-predicting groundhog (sometimes called a woodchuck).

Find out if the Groundhog saw his shadow >>

Every year since, people have congregated around the groundhog’s burrow at Gobbler’s Knob to see if the resident groundhog, whose name is Punxsutawney Phil, catches a glimpse of his shadow.

According to Groundhog Day lore, if Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, warm weather is near and spring will arrive early.

Related: Forget the Groundhog: This Lobster Predicted Six More Weeks of Summer

When is Groundhog Day 2018?

Groundhog Day is always celebrated on February 2 — in 2018, that’s the first Friday in February. Phil is expected to emerge around sunrise.

Where does the groundhog see its shadow?

Cities around the country now celebrate Groundhog Day with their own community groundhogs. But the most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, lives in the woodsy area of Gobbler’s Knob, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

If you can’t visit in person, a live-stream is scheduled to start at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, February 2.

How does Groundhog Day work?

Groundhog Day is a madcap tradition that, believe it or not, once had nothing to do with rodents. According to TIME, the meaning of Groundhog Day was once rooted in an ancient Christian holiday known as Candlemas.

Halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, clergymen would distribute candles to help people get through the rest of winter. If, on this day, the weather was sunny, more stormy winter weather was ahead. If the skies were cloudy, on the other hand, spring was not far away.

Our modern Groundhog Day started when early German settlers in Pennsylvania adapted the legend to incorporate the common local groundhogs.

Groundhog Day 2018 Prediction

The Weather Channel is forecasting cloudy skies on Friday morning which a chance of snow, meaning it’s unlikely Phil will see his shadow. If this prediction is correct, winter could be over very soon.

How accurate are Groundhog Day results?

A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that Punxsutawney Phil, despite his fame, has “no predictive skill.” Rude.

Last year, for example, Phil saw his shadow, suggesting six more weeks of winter. And yet both February as well as March temperatures were above average.

StormFax.com, which is also tracking the results of Phil’s predictions, show the woodchuck has only been correct 39 percent of the time since 1887.

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