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IN THE SHADOWY WORLD OF GROUNDHOGS, CONTRADICTION

Punxsutawney Phil -- the world's most famous groundhog -- saw his shadow this morning, meaning six more weeks of winter, according to legend.

However, his Western New York cousin, Dunkirk Dave, did not see his shadow, and that means an early spring, according to his owner, Bob Will.

Will has full confidence in Dave's prognosticating skills. "Just remember" he said, "in the past 30 years he has been making the call, he has a 90 percent accuracy record."

Dave's prediction came in the midst of what seems like an unusually long winter and with snow returning this morning to Western New York.

Phil's prediction came with temperatures just below freezing, flurries falling and lingering snow crunching underfoot when he emerged from his hole in Punxsutawney, Pa.

In the past 155 years, Phil has seen his shadow 101 times.

Bill Cooper, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle, was charged with interpreting Phil's predictions. He interpreted Phil's squeaks and body language after the groundhog exited from his hole.

"Groundhogese is like no other language. I can just take a look at his expression and tell," Cooper said. "He decides. I just interpret what he sees."

The Groundhog Day tradition is rooted in a German superstition that if an animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2 -- the Christian holiday of Candlemas -- bad weather is coming.

The Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce was expecting 15,000 to 20,000 visitors to join Phil in town, more than the 10,000 to 12,000 who arrived last year.

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