Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring
Following a recent stretch of weather that's included both record warm temperatures and bitter cold, tornadoes in the South and Midwest and torrential rains in the mid-Atlantic, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his lair Saturday in front of thousands but didn't see his shadow.
Legend has it that if the furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2 on Gobbler's Knob in west-central Pennsylvania, winter will last six more weeks. But if he doesn't see his shadow, spring will come early.
Phil's got company in the forecasting department. There's Staten Island Chuck, in New York; General Beauregard Lee, in Atlanta; and Wiarton Willie, in Wiarton, Ontario, among others noted by the National Climactic Data Center "Groundhog Day" Web page.
In New York City, Staten Island Chuck crawled out of his cottage and was not frightened back inside by his shadow. That means spring is on the way. But on Long Island, groundhog Malverne Mel did see his shadow. That means more winter.
Groundhogs in North Carolina's two biggest cities disagree on the forecast for the next six weeks. Sir Walter Wally in Raleigh saw his shadow around noon Saturday, predicting six more weeks of winter. But in Charlotte, Queen Charlotte didn't see her shadow when she came out around 11:30 a.m., predicting an early spring.
Georgia's famed groundhog, Gen. Beauregard Lee, has spotted his shadow — indicating we're in for a longer winter. Ohio's Buckeye Chuck says spring will come early to the state.
Phil's prognostications, of course, are not always right on. Last year, for example, he told people to prepare for six more weeks of winter, a minority opinion among his groundhog brethren. The Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University later listed that January to June as the warmest seven-month period since systematic records began being kept in 1895.
Critical thinking challenge: Why is Phil is known as the “seer of seers” and “sage of sages?”
Define these words: brethren, rodents, partisans
- Posted on February 2, 2013