Groundhog doesn't see his shadow, predicting early spring

Members of Punxsutawney Phil's inner circle revealed spring is coming early

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. -- It may be hard to believe as a large swath of the U.S. thaws out from a bitter polar vortex, but spring is coming early, according to handlers for some of the country's most famous prognosticating groundhogs.

The festivities have their 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.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped attending Staten Island's Groundhog Day ceremony in 2015, a year after he accidentally dropped the furry critter that died a week later.