It was the news everyone in the Tri-State dreaded – more winter.
On Sunday morning, Punxsutawney Phil waddled out of his cage in the small Pennsylvania town he takes his name from for an annual winter ritual that dates back to the 1800s.
If Phil sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter. If not, spring comes early.
Phil’s handlers held him up on what is also a dreary Super Bowl Sunday, and declared winter is here to stay, at least for a little bit longer.
When the news broke on social media, reaction was swift.
“I predict Groundhog Stew!” wrote @pattibwrite on Twitter.
@WCPO I predict Groundhog Stew!— Patti B. (@pattibwrite) February 2, 2014
Others more clearly suggested violence against the little mammal so many hang hopes on to end their winter doldrums.
“Phil must die. Just sayin,” tweeted @JenaInc08.
@WCPO Phil must die. Just sayin.— Jennifer Johnson (@JenaInc08) February 2, 2014
As the odds show though, placing hopes for a short winter on Phil is a poor bet. Of the 117-recorded predictions Phil and his predecessors made, the little guys have only predicted an early spring 16 times.
And of course, his odds of actually predicting late weather conditions are not the best anyway.
There is one thing Phil is good at, avoiding the law. For a year now, the Butler County Prosecutor Michael T. Gmoser pursued Phil for his prediction of an early spring last year.
“On or about February 02,2013, at Gobbler's Knob, Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that Spring would come early. Contrary to the Groundhog Day report, a snowstorm and record low temperatures have been and are predicted to continue in the near future, which constitutes the offense of MISREPRESENTATION OF EARLY SPRING, a Unclassified Felony, and against the peace and dignity of the State Of Ohio.
SPECIFICATION: The people further find and specify that due to the aggravating circumstances and misrepresentation to the people that the death penalty be implemented to the defendant, Punxsutawney Phil,” Gmoser declared.
Of course, this year Gmoser was actually on hand for Phil's prediction. He apologized for trying to charge Phil last year.
Perhaps he will reconsider that stance as a winter weather advisory was declared for parts of the Tri-State on Sunday.
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