Had enough of winter? What will the groundhog say?

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Punxsutawney Phil makes his annual appearance on Feb. 2. Punxsutawney Phil makes his annual appearance on Feb. 2.

Did your Friday morning begin in a frightful way, slipping and sliding through snow-covered roadways during your morning drive to work? Remember, it can always be worse. Just imagine how to tomorrow will begin for Punxsutawney Phil, a world-famous four-legged creature, who calls a small Western Pennsylvania town his home.

At 7:20 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, members of his Inner Circle will grasp Punxsutawney Phil from a winter-long blissful sleep. They’ll thrust the poor groundhog out to an arm’s length while tens of thousands of people look on and try to determine if he sees his shadow or not.

Even though the poor little guy probably just wants to sleep, there’s a greater need at hand.

If he casts a shadow, another six weeks winter is on its way. If not, winter ends soon.

Phil and his long list of relatives have annually predicted winter’s demise since 1887.

While some say he is only correct about one-third of the time, Punxsutawney Phil’s fans and believers feel he accurate more times than not.

The custom probably began among the members of Pennsylvania’s German Community in the 1700s. A popular saying said winter would last another six weeks if a groundhog saw his shadow after he crawled from his burrow on Candlemas.

If you consider that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, then Punxsutawney Phil must be a champion. Communities across the eastern portion of the United States now offer their own version of Groundhog’s Day ceremonies.

But Punxsutawney Phil remains the king of groundhogs.

He might have an easy and popular call this year, area forecasters said.

The Weather Channel is calling for sun-blocking snow flurries to cover the sky over Punxsutawney. So there’s a good chance that Phil’s vision will be clouded and lean toward a prediction to an early end to winter.

If you want to watch the proceedings, check out www.groundhog.org.

 What will February be like?

National Weather Service forecasters are calling for a warmer-than-normal trend to grip the eastern portion of the United States through mid-February. Overall, February daily high temperatures will be warmer than normal across the Texas and the lower Midwest.

 Outlook for South Jersey

South Jersey residents are facing a February with equal chances of warmer- or colder-than-normal temperatures, according to the National Weather Service. After a cold start during Super Bowl weekend, temperatures will moderate over the first two weeks. Daily highs should begin to reach the upper 40s and lower 50s during the first two weeks of the February.


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