The groundhog is a member of the squirrel family that normally weights from 12 to 15 pounds and is 20 inches long. It is covered with coarse grayish hair, has short ears and short legs and it is surprisingly quick. Groundhogs are one of the few animals that truly hibernates.
According to American folklore, every year on February 2nd the groundhog in Punxsutawney, PA wakes up from hibernation and can then forecast how the rest of the winter is going to be. If it sees its own shadow that means the winter will last for six more weeks. If the sky is cloudy and the groundhog cannot see his shadow that means spring will come early and the second half of the winter will be mild.
Groundhog day is so popular that thousands of people go to Punxsutawney every year to participate in the festivities that lead to the prediction of Puxsutawney Phill (as they named the groundhog). It is even the title of a movie in which Bill Murray plays a weatherman who wakes up and lives Groundhog Day over and over again.
Today, February 2, 2010 Punxsutawney Phill saw his shadow predicting six more weeks of winter. That was frustrating for me as I was expecting better temperatures for the next two weeks here in Pittsburgh!