Jan. 16, 2023

Weather Discovery Center announces final —and most famous—

Hall of Fame Inductee

PUNXSUTAWNEY—The Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center’s Board of Directors is inducting its final member into the Meteorologist Hall of Fame. As the final inductee, the Weather Discovery Center has chosen a celebrity well-known in meteorological circles throughout the world. His forecasts have inspired songs, poetry, cinema, and more. Each year on February 2, thousands of faithful followers gather in the Pennsylvania dawn, eagerly anticipating his forecast. The seer of seers, prognosticator of all prognosticators, Punxsutawney Phil is the 2023— and final—Hall of Fame inductee.

Punxsutawney Phil began his forecasting career in 1887. Over the course of his 136 years of prognosticating the length of winter, Punxsutawney Phil, unlike some meteorologists today, can claim 100- percent accuracy. His journey to become a legend in the world of weather began with the early-Christian holiday of Candlemas Day, held on February 2. On that day, Christians would take their candles to the church to have them blessed. This, they felt, would bring blessings to their households for the rest of winter. The celebration was memorialized by an English folksong: If Candlemas be fair and bright, Come, Winter, have another flight; If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Go Winter, and come not again. When the celebration was adopted in Germany, the tradition of watching the behavior of a hedgehog (cousin to the groundhog) on February 2 was added to the folklore. If the animal saw its shadow on that day, there would be a second winter. If there was no shadow, spring would arrive early. 

            The Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club has existed as the caretakers of Punxsutawney Phil and the perpetuators of the Groundhog Day legend since 1899. Over the decades, the Inner Circle and their famous forecaster have experienced numerous historical events and noteworthy highlights.  In 1958, Punxsutawney Phil announced that it was a United States “Chucknik,” rather than a Soviet Sputnik, that became the first man-made satellite to orbit the earth. On Groundhog Day 1981, Punxsutawney Phil wore a yellow ribbon in honor of the American hostages in Iran. Three members of the Groundhog Club Inner Circle and Punxsutawney Phil travelled to Washington D.C. in 1986 to meet President Ronald Regan. In 1993 Punxsutawney Phil’s fame skyrocketed with the Columbia Pictures release of Groundhog Day the Movie starring Bill Murray. Accompanied by members of the Inner Circle, Punxsutawney Phil travelled to Indianapolis in 2015 to participate in the March Madness Basketball Bracket Picking Challenge against Dick Vitale.

On February 1 beginning at 12:00 p.m., Punxsutawney Phil will be officially inducted into the Meteorologist Hall of Fame, joining other notable figures such as Dr. Louis Uccellini, the former director of the National Weather Service and former assistant administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Dr. Joel Myers, the founder of AccuWeather, and Weather Channel meteorologist Jen Carfagno.

            The Meteorologist Hall of Fame induction ceremony is open to the public with an $8 admission to the Weather Discovery Center. It will begin at 12:00 p.m. with a reception of punch and groundhog cookies to follow. Visitors can meet Phil during the reception.  To read more about this event, and other activities scheduled during the Groundhog Day celebration visit

Photo Creator: ALAN FREED | Credit: REUTERS

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