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Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil gives weather prediction for 2024

Punxsutawney Phil has revealed his annual weather prediction on Groundhog Day in a tongue-in-cheek ritual in Pennsylvania.

As the sun rose in Gobbler's Knob, the furry forecaster emerged from his burrow, with his handlers from the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club announcing he had not seen his shadow.

The group says this means America can expect an early spring.

Gobbler's Knob is the scene of the largest and best known Groundhog Day celebration in the US.

Some 10,000 people made their way to Punxsutawney in recent years for the festivities, which begin at night and culminate in the midwinter forecast.

Tradition dating back to 1887 holds that if the groundhog sees his shadow when summoned, it means there will be another six weeks of winter - but if doesn't, spring is set to come soon.

Before making the announcement, president Tom Dunkel told the crowd that his cane, handed down from previous Punxsutawney Groundhog Club presidents, gave him the power to speak "Groundhog-ese" and that Phil would pick one of two scrolls to use.

At Mr Dunkel's behest, the crowd chanted "Phil!" before a club member pulled the groundhog from a door in a stump on the stage and held it aloft.

Vice President Dan McGinley read the decision, written in verse, from the chosen scroll and announced: "Glad tidings on this Groundhog Day, an early spring is on the way!"

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The 1993 blockbuster film Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray, sparked a surge of interest in Punxsutawney Phil.

The groundhog predicts more winter more often than early springs, but when a federal agency checked his record last year, his accuracy rate for forecasts was hit-and-miss at about 40%.

Throughout the rest of the year, Phil lives in a customised space beside the Punxsutawney Memorial Library, with a window where library patrons can look at his burrow.