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Punxsutawney Phil

February 1, 2012 by staff 

Punxsutawney Phil, The big day is almost here for our favorite little groundhog. After a downright balmy winter that could give new meaning to the concept of global warming, the stage is now set for Concord Charlie’s big prediction tomorrow morning.

And don’t forget about Punxsutawney Phil. His prediction carries a lot of weight as well — particularly on the national level.

Let’s hope the groundhog makes a positive prediction for the region. He better not see his shadow, and bring an end to this spring-like weather we’ve all been basking in as of late. The big prediction will come from both Concord Charlie and Punxsutawney Phil. Will either groundhog see his shadow tomorrow? If one, or both groundhogs see their shadows, legend has it that the region will be in for six more weeks — or perhaps make that our first six weeks of winter. If the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, spring is all but guaranteed to arrive early, according to the popular folklore.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been enjoying all of this lovely weather as of late. I’ll confess. I don’t like the snow. I also don’t like driving in the snow. It’s simply not very fun when you live on a secondary road where finding a snowplow is as rare as a four-leaf clover.

Nope. I can live with six more weeks of spring, and then spring again. I can deal with the colder nights as long as the days stay warm. After the nightmarish winters of 2010 and 2011, we’ve really earned this mild winter — global warming or not. And I haven’t met anyone who is complaining about the lack of snow. Everyone seems to be enjoying the lovely weather. Being able to walk outside, or into a store or the mall without having to wear or carry a coat, is an absolute blast.

Cross your fingers — the forecast still looks good regardless of what the groundhog says. Temperatures are still above normal, and there is no big snowstorm anywhere to be found in the extended forecast.

If you don’t really believe in the whole groundhog thing, you always have the weatherman to fall back on. And the forecasters with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., are also predicting a continuation of the region’s mild temperatures through much of February.

Dennis Sleighter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., told reporter Kate Coil last week that preliminary indications by the National Weather Service’s long-term models indicates mild temperatures and a warmer-than-average winter will continue through the month of February. As a result, Sleighter said he would put his money on Concord Charlie not seeing his shadow this year.

So if February turns out to be as mild as January, the only thing we should have left to worry about is the month of March. And winter normally loses its grip by mid-March — unless, of course, you remember the Great Blizzard of 1993. It occurred March 13, 1993. It’s hard to forget that one.

As of now, everything looks promising. But that all could come crashing down on us if Charlie, Phil, or both of the little critters, see their shadows tomorrow morning, and retreat back into their underground bunkers. If they do, six more weeks of winter is all but certain. And six more weeks of winter could mean some actual winter weather for our region — something we haven’t seen much of as of late.

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