Crowds gather on Gobbler’s Knob for Groundhog Day forecast

Inner Circle President Bill Deeley shows Punxsutawney Phil to tourists a day before Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Members of the Inner Circle planned to reveal their forecast at sunrise Tuesday. A German legend says that if a furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last an additional six weeks. If not, spring comes early. In reality, Phil’s “prediction” is decided ahead of time by the group. (Mark Pynes/PennLive.com via AP)

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP)The handlers of Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog are set to announce whether the rodent will predict an early spring or six more weeks of winter.

Members of Punxsutawney Phil’s top hat-wearing inner circle plan to reveal their forecast at sunrise, just before 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

The festivities have their origin in a German legend that says if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Feb. 2, winter continues. If not, spring comes early.

In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney. That’s about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Records dating to 1887 show Phil predicting more winter 102 times while forecasting an early spring just 18 times — including last year. There are no records for the remaining years.

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