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Punxsutawney Groundhog Sees His Shadow

Groundhog Forecaster Punxsutawney Phil Sees His Shadow, Predicts Six More Weeks of Winter

In this photo provided by Vaseline, Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil gets a reaction from Vaseline employees Laurel Johnson, left, and Margaret Baker, center, as he emerges from a box after handler Bill Deeley, right, placed him there while visiting Vaseline's exhibit tent in Barclay Square in the center of Punxsutawney, PA, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2006. When throngs of people descend upon Punxsutawney to celebrate Groundhog Day on Thursday, businesses and other groups will try to ride the coattails of the cute and cuddly Punxsutawney Phil to gain publicity. (AP Photo/Vaseline, Ray Stubblebine)

By DAN NEPHIN Associated Press Writer

The Associated PressThe Associated Press

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. Feb 2, 2006 — Don't put those winter coats away just yet. The world's most famous weather prognosticating groundhog was roused from his burrow at 7:23 a.m. Thursday and saw his shadow, a sign that there'll be six more weeks of winter.

And though the crowds booed, hundreds were rowdy anyway, dressed in black and gold and swirling Pittsburgh Steelers Terrible Towels in the air in anticipation of Sunday's Super Bowl.

Phil even got in on the Steelers frenzy, with his handlers draping a Terrible Towel over him as he emerged. Earlier, members of the groudhog's famed Inner Circle threw the trademark towels at the crowds as they sang "Here we go Steelers."

Each Feb. 2, thousands of people descend on Punxsutawney, a town of about 6,100 people located about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, for a little midwinter revelry, celebrating what had essentially been a German superstition.

The Germans believed that if a hibernating animal casts a shadow Feb. 2 the Christian holiday of Candlemas winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, legend says spring will come early.

"This is just a ball. I'm having so much fun," said Nancy Durr, who had rub-on Punxsutawney Phil tattoos on each of her cheeks. Durr, of Paxton, Neb., who came to this small western Pennsylvania town with her six brothers and sisters to celebrate her 50th birthday.

She had been outside awaiting Phil's arrival since about 2:15 a.m. Thursday.

"I just always wanted to spend my birthday here," she said.

Susan Leal traveled from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. The trip was a gift from her husband, John, for her 40th birthday.

"I've always dreamed of coming to see Punxsutawney Phil," Leal said. "It's in my genes. I have just always wanted to do this."

According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Phil has seen his shadow 96 times, hasn't seen it 14 times and there are no records for nine years.

The last time Phil failed to see his shadow was in 1999. Still, Thursday's forecast was calling for variable cloudiness and a high of about 48 degrees significantly warmer than the temperatures in the teens the last two years.

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