Neither snow nor rain, nor heat or pandemic prevent Punxsutawney Phil from emerging from his burrow to predict whether there will be six weeks of winter or early spring.
The spectacle, which is Groundhog Day at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, will continue, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, night owls cannot see it and celebrate in person: this year everything is virtual.
Starting Tuesday 6:30 a.m. EST, users can sign up and listen to winter and spring inspired Spotify playlists as they learn how to make Wigle whiskey cocktails and crafts at home, including the official Groundhog Day biscuit.
Then, of course, the forecaster of the forecaster – supported by his inner circle – will appear at dawn, either to find his shadow or not. When he sees it? Another six weeks of winter. If not, spring will come early.
The livestream from Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney, about 105 kilometers northeast of Pittsburgh, is made possible by the Holi-Stay PA of the Pennsylvania Tourism Office. The event there – always on February 2nd – dates back to 1887.
“Whether you are hoping for six more weeks of winter fun or early spring, we could all use a little more luck this year,” said department spokeswoman Carrie Lepore in a press release.
This year, like many years in the past, Phil will give his forecast during a large snow storm that hits the entire northeast.
The annual event has its origins in a German legend about a furry rodent. Records from the late 19th century show that Phil predicted winters that were more than 100 times longer. The forecast for 2020 was early spring – but Phil said nothing about a pandemic.
Punxsutawney Phil may be the most famous marmot seer, but he is certainly not the only one. There are two other high profile “scammers”, as the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club calls them, in the region.
Staten Island Chuck will be asked about his prophecy at around 8 a.m. on Tuesday at the Staten Island Zoo in New York. This event will be streamed on Facebook as the zoo is closed.
Even without fanfare, Chuckles, the official Connecticut marmot, will make a prediction from home: the Lutz Children’s Museum in Manchester. This is also streamed on Facebook. Chuckles X died in September, and it remains to be seen whether an anointed Chuckles XI will show up on Tuesday.