Pennsylvania groundhog predicts early spring

PENNSYLVANIA (REUTERS) -Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, emerges from his den but sees no shadow, indicating an early spring according to tradition.

It's a time-honoured tradition going back to 1887.  

Every year on Feb 2, the nation's weather watchers focus their attention on the small Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney and it's most famous resident, Phil the groundhog.  

This year was no different as Phil - with help - emerged from his den.  

Would he see his shadow, foretellling six more weeks of winter?  or would there be no shadow... a sure sign of an early spring?  

The crowd was tense as the verdict was delivered.  

For the assembled winter-weary crowd the news couldn't have been better, although no one had the heart to tell them that Punxsutawney Phil's forecasts have been correct only 39 per cent of the time.