Punxsutawney Phil, America's most famous groundhog, emerged from his burrow yesterday to the glare of cameras and the cheers of thousands of spectators and offered his annual weather prognostication: an early spring is coming.

Each year thousands of fans from as far away as Australia and Russia attend the event in this small Pennsylvania town, depicted in the film Groundhog Day. It is said that if the rodent emerges from his hole and sees his shadow, six weeks of freezing temperatures are due. But this year Phil did not see his shadow, suggesting an early spring.

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