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Groundhog: Six more weeks of winter

February 2, 2012

Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his oak stump in central Pennsylvania this morning to find shadows awaiting him.

The result of the 126th annual Groundhog Day tradition predicts six more weeks of winter. Although since winter has been unusually mild in western North Carolina, that might not be such a bad thing.

The announcement Thursday morning drew groans from more than 18,000 people assembled at Gobblers Knob in Punxsutawney, a city about 65 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Temperatures were near freezing when he emerged at dawn - unseasonably warm - and are forecast to climb into the mid-40s in a winter that's brought little snow and only a few notably cold days to much of the East.

Thursday's ceremony is largely that: Phil's prediction is determined ahead of time by the Inner Circle, a group which dons top hats and tuxedos and decides in advance what the groundhog will predict.

Complete details from the winter forecasting event are forthcoming from The Observer News Enterprise's sister newspaper, The Punxsutawney Spirit, which first reported the groundhog prediction in 1886.

Check back with www.observernewsonline.com for photos and details throughout the day.

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