Punxsutawney Phil: Groundhog Day Sage Set to Nail 2017 Weather Forecast … Maybe

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The rodent. The myth. The legend.

Punxsutawney Phil, the Western Pennsylvania great without whom Groundhog Day would not be a thing, is hours away from doing HIS thing:

Making his annual prediction early Thursday morning, LIVE from the Keystone State, to inform the masses how early 2017 will shake out.

Punxsutawney Phil Photo

Will there be a shadow sighting, thus signaling six more weeks of winter? Or will there be no shadow, and thus, an early spring on the horizon?

Only Punxsutawney Phil knows, people.

Groundhog Day, of course, is when the affable, rotund critter emerges from Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., at bitter cold daybreak.

He either sees his shadow or he doesn't. It's as simple as that, yet the implications at the midway point of winter (exactly!) are profound.

A lot rides on this, given that if there is a shadow sighting, six more weeks of bitter cold and icy precipitation must be endured.

No shadow? Then it's early spring, baby!

Awesome as that sounds (and increasingly likely, if you're one of those people who actually believes in climate change), don't bank on it.

Historically, the odds are not great.

Punxsutawney Phil Photograph

In 119 years, Punxsutawney Phil has predicted the coming of "early spring" but 18 times, not a shock since he lives in Western Pennsylvania.

Not to mention, one of those times was 2013, when record snowfall totals proceeded to pound much of the U.S. not even a week later.

On the flip side, he's basically nailed it three straight since.

Following the aforementioned debacle, which even led to a lawsuit by one Ohio county, he came back with back-to-back shadow sightings. 

Both preceded extremely wintry weather in 2014-15.

In 2016, Phil did not see his shadow and North America saw its mildest winter in recorded history throughout much of this great continent.

Suffice it to say, P-squared is back and then some.

Hopefully, Punxsy decides to get some rest tonight and not watch Arrow online. We need him on his game, because too much is at stake.

The current forecast for Thursday a.m. for the Weather Capitol of the World is cloudy with a chance of snow showers, for what it's worth.

How it plays out is anyone's guess.

No one can say. Except Phil.

So just sit back, relax, think about your favorite scenes from Groundhog Day the movie and bask in the glory that is this American holiday.

Early spring or not, this is a great chance to get outside and enjoy the spectacle of winter, or just some good old-fashioned fun on Thursday.

Especially when it's the second day of February, arguably the most dismal point in the calendar year - and more so than ever this year.

The way things are going so far in 2017, we could all use a respite from political and cultural tumult. Punxsy Phil is here to give it to us.

And for that, we thank him.

YOUR PREDICTION:

UPDATE, 2/2/17, 7:30 a.m.: Follow the link, because the legendary Phil has just spoken and the 2017 Groundhog Day prediction is in.

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