Since 1887, the fine people of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania have been using skittish woodchucks to predict the weather as crowds of fair-weather fans gather by the tens of thousands to hear the beast speak and reveal its Dark arts wisdom for the ages, for the next six weeks.
Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow on Sunday and predicted six more weeks of winter, much to the chagrin of those hoping for an early spring.
The rotund rodent exited his subterranean residence at Gobblers Knob in the western Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney around 7:30 a.m. on Groundhog Day.
Punxsutawney Phil, or Phillip, never asked for any of this. The power, fame and fortune.
The Pennsylvania Tourism Bureau estimates that approximately 20,000-25,000 visitors will descend on the town this weekend to see if “Punxsutawney Phil” will spy his shadow, filling the hotels, restaurants and shops of the town and surrounding area.
The bureau says that the average visitor spends $200 on lodging, food, gas and souvenirs during their stay, meaning that tourists could bring in as much as $5 million to the local economy.
If we’re judging based on accuracy, sure, he’s no role model. But for a little groundhog making a $5 million difference in the community while bringing people together, Phil makes it rain. And for that, he’s a weather genius.