DUNKIRK – Punxsutawney Phil and our local rodent, Dunkirk Dave, did not see their shadows Sunday morning, which means an early spring is likely.
Dunkirk Dave’s prediction rate, according to his handlers, is 93 percent. Respectable, for a rodent.
Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, awoken by the crowd’s chants of “Phil!” Punxsutawney Phil was hoisted in the air for the assembly to hail before making his decision. He then grasped the glove of a handler as a member of his inner circle announced that spring would come early this year.
The annual event has its origin in a German legend that says if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Feb. 2, winter continues. If not, spring comes early.
In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney.
That’s about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh.