Groundhog Day 2017 predictions: Will Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow?

Thursday marks one of the most symbolic and least scientific holidays in America: Groundhog Day. It's a day in which a furry creature, also known as a woodchuck or whistle-pig, determines if winter will continue for six more weeks or if spring will arrive early — all based on whether or not he sees his shadow. If the groundhog does not see its shadow, spring will come early; if it does see its shadow and retreats inside, winter will continue for another six weeks.

Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, is the site of a large Groundhog Day celebration. On the morning of Feb. 2, a groundhog named Phil gives his "forecast" on Gobbler's Knob, a small hill. The town celebrates Phil's fame with an entire week of events honoring the holiday, including a crowning ceremony and a Groundhog Ball masquerade. It's a yearly tradition that first started in 1887.

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Punxsutawney Phil through the years
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Punxsutawney Phil through the years
(Original Caption) Pittsburgh, Pa.: The big day for groundhogs is February 2nd and the weather prediction for western Pennsylvania for that day is cold with a possibility of snow or rain. The star of the day is Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog who lives at Goobler's Knob, but who won't make his appearance until 2/2 to forecast how long winter will last. However, Pittsburgh won't make his appearance until 2/2 to forecast how long winter will last. However, Pittsburgh Greta took a peek outside her zoo cage and beat a hasty retreat 2/1, no sun just cold winds. It looks like Punxsutawney Phil already has his weather prediction, more winter.
384962 01: Groundhog handler William Deeley holds up Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog, January 30, 2001 at a Manhattan, New York hotel. Punxsutawney Phil was in town to make media appearances in preparation of Groundhog Day on February 2, 2001. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Newsmakers)
PUNXSUTAWNEY, UNITED STATES: Members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle watch as William Deeley (L) raises the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil after Phil emerged from his burrow at daybreak 02 February, 2001 during the Groundhog Day celebration at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Phil saw his shadow, forecasting six more weeks of winter. AFP PHOTO/David MAXWELL (Photo credit should read DAVID MAXWELL/AFP/Getty Images)
400473 10: Members of Punxsutawneys 'Inner Circle' tap on Punxsutawney Phils door as they entice him out February 2, 2002 during the annual Groundhog day event in Punxsutawney, Pa. Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter in front of a estimated crowd of over 40,000. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA - FEBRUARY 1: A groundhog peaks out from his man-made den at the Groundhog Zoo in Barley Park on the eve of Groundhog Day on February 1, 2004 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. As the custom goes, if Punxsutawney Phil (a large burrowing rodent) emerges from hibernation to see his own shadow, he will take this as a sign of six more weeks of winter, and return to his burrow. (Photo by Archie Carpenter/Getty Images)
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA - FEBRUARY 2: Bill Deeley presents weather prognosticating groundhog Punxsutawney Phil to the crowd at Gobbler's Knob during the annual Groundhog day event February 2, 2003 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Phil, having seen his shadow, predicted six more weeks of winter. (Photo by Archie Carpenter/Getty Images)
PUNXSUTAWNEY, UNITED STATES: (FILES) This 02 February, 2001 file photo shows Punxsutawney Phil, held by his handler, William Deeley during the Groundhog Day celebration at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Punxsutawney Phil travelled to Washington, DC 07 December, 2004 to attend a press conference with US Representative John Peterson, R-PA to defend the $100,000 USD Grant for the Punxsutawney Weather Museum. Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Peterson and the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil as the December Co-Porkers of the Month for jointly defending the grant for the weather center. Punxsuntany Phil is usually shown to the public during a nationally-televised ceremony in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, every 02 February. Old German legend has it that if the groundhog sees his shadow on that day, cold weather will last another six weeks. If, on the other hand, he does not, early spring is on the way. AFP PHOTO/FILES/DAVID MAXWELL (Photo credit should read DAVID MAXWELL/AFP/Getty Images)
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA - FEBRUARY 2: Official groundhog handler Bill Deeley holds Punxsutawney Phil as he talks to the local media February 2, 2005 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Phil predicted six more weeks of winter in front of an estimated crowd of over 18000. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA - FEBRUARY 2: Groundhog handler Ben Hughes looks at Punxsutawney Phil, while co-handler John Griffiths holds him after he saw his shadow predicting 6 more weeks of winter during festivities in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on Feb 2, 2008. Groundhog Day is a popular traditon in the United States and Canada. This year a crowd of 40,000 spent a night of revelry awaiting the sunrise and the groundhog's exit from his winter den. If the groundhog sees his shadow he regards it as an omen of 6 more weeks of bad weather and returns to his den. If he doesn't see his shadow, it is a sign of an early spring and he stays above ground. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA - FEBRUARY 2: Groundhog handler Ben Hughes watches Punxsutawney Phil after he did not see his shadow predicting an early spring during the 125th annual Groundhog Day festivities on February 2, 2011 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Groundhog Day is a popular tradition in the United States and Canada. A smaller than usual crowd this year of less than 15,000 people spent a night of revelry awaiting the sunrise and the groundhog's exit from his winter den. If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his den. Early spring arrives if he does not see his shadow causing Phil to remain above ground. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA - FEBRUARY 2: Groundhog handler John Griffiths holds Punxsutawney Phil after he saw his shadow predicting 6 more weeks of winter during 126th annual Groundhog Day festivities on February 2, 2012 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Groundhog Day is a popular tradition in the United States and Canada. A smaller than usual crowd this year of less than 15,000 people spent a night of revelry awaiting the sunrise and the groundhog's exit from his winter den. If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his den. Early spring arrives if he does not see his shadow, causing Phil to remain above ground. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA - FEBRUARY 2: Groundhog handler John Griffiths holds Punxsutawney Phil after he saw his shadow predicting six more weeks of winter during 128th annual Groundhog Day festivities on February 2, 2014 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Groundhog Day is a popular tradition in the United States and Canada. A smaller than usual crowd this year of less than 25,000 people spent a night of revelry awaiting the sunrise and the groundhog's exit from his winter den. If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his den. Early spring arrives if he does not see his shadow, causing Phil to remain above ground. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA - FEBRUARY 02: Punxsutawney Phil climbs on the shoulder of groundhog co-handler John Griffiths after Phil didn't see his shadow and predicting an early spring during the 127th Groundhog Day Celebration at Gobbler's Knob on February 2, 2013 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The Punxsutawney 'Inner Circle' claimed that there were about 35,000 people gathered at the event to watch Phil's annual forecast. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA - FEBRUARY 2: Punxsutawney Phil relaxes in his cage after he saw his shadow predicting six more weeks of winter during 128th annual Groundhog Day festivities on February 2, 2014 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Groundhog Day is a popular tradition in the United States and Canada. A smaller than usual crowd this year of less than 25,000 people spent a night of revelry awaiting the sunrise and the groundhog's exit from his winter den. If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his den. Early spring arrives if he does not see his shadow, causing Phil to remain above ground. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Groundhog co-handler John Griffiths holds up groundhog Punxsutawney Phil after Phil's annual weather prediction on Gobbler's Knob on the 130th Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania February 2, 2016. Punxsutawney Phil, a famed U.S. groundhog with an even more famous shadow, emerged from his burrow on Tuesday and predicted an early spring. REUTERS/Alan Freed TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Based on past predictions, it's safe to bet Phil will see his shadow, although he did not in 2016. According to NPR, on that 22-degree morning, the Groundhog Club emcee shouted, "An early spring is my forecast! Take your jackets off, you're not going to need them!" But jackets were needed for several more weeks, as the winter temperatures remained cold and became even colder before spring, with several snowstorms hitting New England.

In the past, Phil has seen his shadow almost 87% of the time, but his predictions have been accurate only 39% of the time.

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Winter weather 2016-2017 -- snow, ice and sleet
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Winter weather 2016-2017 -- snow, ice and sleet

Dogs walk through the snow during a spring snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts April 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

People walk through Times Square during a snow storm on January 7, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

A woman walks in the snow at Times Square in New York U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

A man sweeps the street after snow fell in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kevin Coombs)

A young child smiles while catching snow flakes on his tongue during snow flurries in New York, U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Semi-truck driver Don Kerns removes chains from his truck during record rain and snow outside Lakeview, Oregon, U.S., January 5, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jim Urquhart)

A snowman stands in Times Square following a morning snow in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

A man skis under a snowfall in Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman walks through snow as it falls in New York City, U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

A general view of snow covered seats at New Era Field before a game between the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

(Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Siblings (L-R) Leo, Max and Zoe Zavrachy, on vacation from Ireland, ride down a snow covered hill on Boston Common during a snow storm on the second day of spring in Boston, Massachusetts March 21, 2016.


(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A person crosses Delancey Street during morning snow in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

A woman walks through snow as it falls in New York, U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

A worker clears the snow from the crosswalk in Times Square, Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

A person walks over the Brooklyn Bridge during morning snow in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

Snow is cleared from the Donner Pass rest area at Donner Pass summit during a winter storm, near Truckee, California, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(Bob Strong / Reuters)

People walk under a snowfall as they visit Central Park during a Winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

People walk under a snowfall as they visit Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Children play under a snowfall in Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman falls down as people walk under a snowfall as they visit Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

People walk amid a snowfall in Central Park during a Winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A snow boarder prepares his gear at the Mount Rose Highway summit during a winter storm near Incline Village, Nevada, U.S., January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Bob Strong)

Motorists travel through heavy snow on the Mount Rose Highway during a winter storm near Incline Village, Nevada, U.S., January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Bob Strong)

A person prepares to throw a snowball at their companion during a winter snow storm in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Marine One blows up a cloud of snow as it lands on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Two dogs play in the snow during a winter snow storm in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A pedestrian walks through the snow during a winter storm in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

People walk through Central Park during a snow storm in New York City, U.S. January 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephanie Keith)

People walk through Central Park during a snow storm on January 7, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

A woman plays under a snowfall in Central Park during a winter storm on January 7, 2017 in New York.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

People walk through Times Square during a snow storm on January 7, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

People walk along The Mall in Central Park during a snow storm on January 7, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

A snowboarder rides over a ridge of snow in the afternoon sunlight on the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of year at Hunter Mountain ski area in Hunter, New York, U.S., December 21, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mine Segar)

People walk through Central Park following morning snow in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 17, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

A young Native American man rides his horse through the snow near the Oceti Sakowin camp as "water protectors" continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., December 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Footsteps can be seen on a recently cleared sidewalk during a spring snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts April 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A pedestrian crosses the road during a snow storm on the second day of spring in Boston, Massachusetts March 21, 2016.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A woman with an umbrella walks through the snow during a spring snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts April 4, 2016.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

A cyclist passes pedestrians on a sidewalk on 12th Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York City as snow falls February 15, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

A woman stands on a snow covered path at Central Park in New York, U.S., January 6, 2017.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016.

(Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 11: Snow falls in the streets of Chicago, United States on December 11, 2016. (Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A man walks in the snow at Times Square in New York U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

New England Patriots fans are seen standing in the snow, sleet, and freezing rain in anticipation of seeing their team at city hall plaza during Super Bowl LI victory parade in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., February 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Barry Chin/Pool)

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: A woman and her grandchilden sled on Boston Common following a winter storm February 13, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. Another winter storm has brought heavy snow and wind to the region. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: A woman feeds pigeons near the Boston Common following a winter storm February 13, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. Another winter storm has brought heavy snow and wind to the region. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: A worker uses a tractor to plow the sidewalks around the Boston Common following a winter storm February 13, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. Another winter storm has brought heavy snow and wind to the region. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
LYNNFIELD, MA - FEBRUARY 13: A snow plow works to widen a street during a snow storm February 13, 2017 in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. Another winter storm has brought heavy snow and wind to the region. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 12: Ross Wilson, 9, of Boston and his brother, Sam, 7, take advantage of the snow as they sled down a hill on the Boston Common in Boston on Feb. 12, 2017. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
QUINCY, MA - FEBRUARY 9: An owl toughs out the blizzard sweeping through the region on a branch in the Squantum neighborhood of Quincy, MA on Feb. 9, 2017. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
QUINCY, MA - FEBRUARY 9: Snow and ice coat the window of an inbound MBTA Red Line train at Quincy Central station in Quincy, MA on Feb. 9, 2017. MBTA trains kept running as a blizzard swept through the region. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Pedestrians walk up a street on Beacon Hill during white-out, blizzard-like conditions in a winter nor'easter snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Residents dig out following a winter snow storm in the Boston suburb of Wakefield, Massachusetts, U.S. February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Surfers take advantage of wind and waves from a winter snow storm in Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S. February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A man clears snow off his vehicle following a winter snow storm in Somerville, Massachusetts, U.S. February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
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