More winter?

So I'm reading in the news that the groundhog – Punxsutawney Phil – has predicted another six weeks of winter. Okay, referring to my previous post WHO WOULDN'T want six more weeks of this 🙂

From the article:

Punxsutawney has celebrated Groundhog Day since 1887, as depicted in 1993 movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray.

Punxsutawney Phil's staged emergence came before a crowd of estimated between 12,000 to 15,000 spectators in the east-central Pennsylvania town.

Um, why? Why are there 12-15K spectators watching this rodent? I understand it's tradition, but you have to wonder what was happening in 1887 that put the idea into whoever's head that this rodent could determine the weather patterns. According to WikiPedia, nothing really was happening to suggest a reason. It just boggles the mind.

Of course, the question becomes which rodent to believe. Further in the above news article, we are told “New York's Staten Island Chuck differed with Phil by calling for an end to winter.” I wonder if Chuck is short for Charles.