2009-01-29 / Editorial

I'm betting on the groundhog next week


There's yet another major winter storm heading our direction as I write these words early Wednesday morning. School has been cancelled for the day. Wind, rain, sleet, ice and maybe five to seven inches of snow are expected, the weather prognosticators say.

They'll let us know for sure when the storm has passed.

Winter is beginning to wear thin.

Since we're talking about the weather, I should mention that on Monday, Feb. 2, down in the hollers of Pennsylvania, another weather expert will share his prediction for the remainder of the winter. The groundhog known as Punxsutawney Phil will be awakened to emerge grumpily from his burrow to look for his shadow. Thousands of humans will be on hand to bear witness to Phil's astute forecasting skills.

The legend goes that if Phil sees his shadow, we'll have six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't see his shadow, we can expect an early spring.

Either way, Phil is going back to bed.

Punxsutawney Phil has been looking for his winter shadow since 1887. His handlers claim it has been the very same groundhog every year, but we all know better.

The locals down in Gobbler's Knob, where this famous weather forecasting groundhog resides, say Punxsutawney Phil was supposedly named after King Phillip. Before that, he was called Br'er Groundhog.

There are other weather forecasting groundhogs about, but none have the stature enjoyed by Punxsutawney Phil. He's famous, even if he's not always right. But I'll bet he's got the same track record as most of the teevee weather experts.

Phil gets my vote as the most experienced weather groundhog.

I've had just about enough of winter for this winter. I'm hoping that Phil will not see his shadow and soon we'll have crocuses pushing up through the snow.

— Jeff McDonough

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