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Groundhog Day: Early spring is on the way, Punxsutawney Phil predicts (PHOTOS)

Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning, predicting an early spring.

Groundhog Day is upon us, and it looks like despite the frigid temperatures North America has been enduring, spring is on the way. 

Punxsutawney Phil, arguably the world's most famous groundhog, emerges from his burrow at Gobbler's Knob in west-central Pennsylvania once a year on February 2 to issue a forecast. If he sees his shadow — as he overwhelmingly does — we're in for six more weeks of winter.

However, this year was one of the lucky ones: no shadow was seen, which means spring may, well, spring early. 

"This is the most important weather prediction to be found anywhere on the globe," Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley told the crowd of at least 20,000, Reuters reported

The weather-predicting tradition has been happening in the tiny town of Punxsutawney since 1887, according to ABC News, and is run by a group called the Inner Circle of the Groundhog Club, who pull out their top hats and tuxedos for the ceremony. 

"It doesn't matter where you are from, if you get the Groundhog Day gene it is a pilgrimage you are going to take," said Bill Cooper, a member of the inner circle. "It breaks up the monotony of winter. It has existed for 127 years, not because it is the best meteorological science known to man but because it is fun." 

More from GlobalPost: Biting cold temperatures across the US expected to continue

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/groundhog-day-early-spring-punxsutawney-phil

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