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26 May - 12:57 am NZ
Updated at 8:02 am on 3 February 2013
Punxsutawney Phil, America's most famous groundhog, emerged from his burrow in Pennsylvania on Saturday and offered his annual weather prognostication: an early spring is coming.
PHOTO: AFP (file)
According to legend, if the rodent emerges from his hole and sees his shadow, six more weeks of freezing temperatures and snow are on the way.
As temperatures hovered in the single-digits, the furry rodent was held aloft and relayed his prognostication to the Groundhog Club president who was dressed in a top hat and tuxedo.
"This is the most important weather prediction to be found anywhere on the globe," Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley told the crowd before sunrise.
A few hours later, after a fireworks display, Phil made his appearance.
Residents in Punxsutawney, a town of 6000, have been looking to groundhogs for weather predictions since 1887.
The event was depicted in the film Groundhog Day (1993) starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.
The rodent has seen his shadow the majority of the time, according to groundhog.org, which claims his predictions are nearly 100% correct.
The festivities were carried live on PCN, a Pennsylvania network.
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