Six More Weeks of Winter?


ground hound in grass

Say What?

BCLS Snow and Ice Management of Central Virginia

Punxsutawney Phil — the pleasantly plump Pennsylvania marmot who claims he “is the only true weather forecasting groundhog” — woke up Thursday morning, crawled out of his hole and saw his shadow. Meanwhile here in Central Virginia we are really waiting for winter to arrive if there is even anything left. Ironically we have had more snow in Central Virginia than several major US Cities.

Back in Punxsutawney PA, more winter, Phil said. I’m going back to bed. Wrong!

In fact, spring has already arrived in somewhat official capacity for some of us, for some of us it might as well be spring for all of the warm weather we had in January.

Phil’s prediction came around 7:25 a.m. where scattered snow showers were blowing by and the temperature was a finger-numbing 25 degrees. We’re not sure where the shadow came from with the sun just coming above the horizon and thick clouds overhead — perhaps all the lights from the TV cameras threw him off.

The plucky marmot did not see his shadow last year, predicting an early spring during what was almost a record-strong El Niño. It wasn’t much of a long shot — forecasters had been saying the same thing for weeks.

While Phil says he sticking with his forecast, parts of the Southeast, green leaves are popping out more than 20 days ahead of schedule, according to the National Weather Service. In late January, daffodils were reported in Oklahoma, crocuses in Delaware and tulips in Boston.

While we will not question Phil’s dedication to the seasonal outlook, his accuracy is an enduring source of controversy like back in 2013 when Phil issued a forecast for an early spring, but bitter cold and snow gripped the eastern United States into March that year.  The prosecuting attorney in Butler County, Ohio, went as far as to seek the death penalty for Phil for “misrepresentation of early spring” before a Pennsylvania law firm came to Phil’s defense, claiming the Ohio attorney had no jurisdiction to prosecute the groundhog. Phil went on the lamb for months and reportedly was hiding underground.

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