Forget Phil: The Newport Aquarium's penguin prognosticators think spring is coming early

Punxsutawney Phil woke Thursday morning and saw his shadow, which means spring lovers woke up and shed some tears.

Here's the thing, though: Phil, an adorable groundhog, is a so-called forecaster in the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania -- a few hundred miles away from the Tri-State. Surely, there's got to be a local prognosticator from the animal kingdom in our neck of the woods that can give us a more accurate six-week spring or winter forecast, right?

Yup.

Say hello to Paula and Blueberry, the African penguins at the Newport Aquarium. The pair think Phil's prediction isn't quite right.

Both of these adorable little penguins waddled out of their homes Thursday morning to a sky filled with sun-blocking clouds. Those clouds prevented this dynamic duo from seeing their shadows, which means an early arrival of spring is expected here in the Tri-State this year.

I don't know about you, but I am 100 percent in support of Paula and Blueberry's prediction over that groundhog out east's prediction. He has a track record of being right only 39 percent of the time, by the way.

Plus, we meteorologists here at 9 On Your Side are siding with Paula and Blueberry. They will always get our vote! 

All kidding and folklore aside, the long-term forecast for the next month shows a few rounds of cold, but more above average warmth than anything else. There could be a few more chances of snow before spring arrives on March 20. But right now, the name of the game continues to suggest warmer weather wins out overall.

Stick to your 9 First Warning Weather team as we transition from the cold winter days to warmer spring days over the next few weeks.

By the way, you still have three more weeks to enjoy Winter Family Days at Newport Aquarium – where you get one free kids ticket with each adult ticket. Winter Family Days end Feb. 26.

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