- The Washington Times - Monday, February 3, 2003

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) Don't put those sweaters away yet.
As an anxious crowd shivered in 33-degree temperatures early yesterday, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow and saw his shadow on Gobbler's Knob, suggesting another six weeks of wintry weather.
Kathleen Perdy, a teacher from Alliance, Ohio, joined thousands in the predawn chill.
Her 26-year-old son had been deployed to the Middle East on Saturday, the same day the nation grieved for the astronauts lost aboard Space Shuttle Columbia, but Mrs. Perdy tried to stay positive.
"Life goes on. You learn you have to value your time, and you have to respect each other. Most importantly, you have to have fun," she said.
The crowd danced to stay warm, then sang the national anthem before Phil's handlers held him up and announced the chilly forecast.
Groundhog Day organizers estimated the crowd for the 117th forecast at a record 40,000. Attendance has ballooned so much since the movie "Groundhog Day" was released in 1993 that buses now bring visitors up to Gobbler's Knob.
The Groundhog Day tradition is rooted in a German superstition that if an animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2 the Christian holiday of Candlem bad weather is coming.
Most years, including the past three, Phil has seen his shadow.
For anyone unhappy with Phil's forecast Sunday, the official groundhogs of Ohio and Georgia had a different take on the weather: Neither Gen. Beauregard Lee, lured from his miniature antebellum mansion in Lilburn, Ga., by a bowl of hash browns, nor Marion, Ohio's Buckeye Chuck saw a shadow.

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