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

Handlers for Pennsylvania's most famous prognosticating groundhog say he didn't see his shadow when the sun rose this morning. Thousands had gathered for the unveiling on Groundhog Day.

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It was just the 19th time in 133 years that he’s predicted an early spring. But don’t get too excited. According to some reports, he’s only right about 40 percent of the time.

Why do groundhogs emerge on February 2 if it's not to predict the weather?

Of course groundhogs – also known as woodchucks – don’t emerge at this time just to be furry weather predictors. So what’s the real reason? Research into groundhog biology shows they have other priorities in early February than mingling with the people of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

After a cold spell that saw temperatures reach single digits this week, the region could use some good news. Thursday morning brought Baltimore’s coldest temperatures in more than a year, and its first single-digit temperatures of 2019. The low at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport was 6 degrees.

In some parts north and west of the city this morning, temperatures were again in single digits.

The festivities in Pennsylvania 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 (puhnk-suh-TAW'-nee). That's about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

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