Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring

Jeff Swensen Getty Images

Jeff Swensen Getty Images

The groundhog did not see his own shadow as he emerged from his lair, meaning the United States is heading for an early spring. The Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper of Punxsutawney, Penn., first mentioned Groundhog Day predictions in 1886.

Groundhog Day goes back over a hundred years, and it is one of winter's most wholesome traditions.

While Chuck's record is better - he has gotten it right 80 percent of the time, compared to Phil's 40-percent record - Phil was the first groundhog to guess spring's fate.

Groundhog Club co-handler John Griffiths, center, holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 133rd celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019.

Should he not see his shadow, we will have an early spring. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was bitten at a Groundhog Day ceremony in 2009. TIME tested the accuracy of various groundhogs based on their ability to predict the weather of their relative geographic area.

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If a hedgehog saw his shadow on Candlemas Day, there would be a "second winter" or six more weeks of bad weather, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, gatekeepers of all things groundhog. The group believed the act would bless the household throughout the winter.

Other places have begun using their own groundhog to celebrate the holiday, including General Beauregard Lee of Atlanta, Dunkirk Dave of Dunkirk, New York, and Jimmy of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

They started running at early as 3am ET, hours ahead of Phil's prediction.

Last year, Phil predicted six more weeks of winter, but was proven wrong when temperatures rose through February and March.

And of course, there's always the Bill Murray classic move "Groundhog Day" if you need a refresher course.

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