Pat Shingleton: "Wakin'" Up Phil
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania attracts thousands on February 2. Directly related to a single event, tourism has become one of the leading industries for this community, Thursday morning, the groundhog will be “extracted” from his sleep, held before the crowd and then asked to make a prediction based upon his shadow. Each year, PETA or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals contend that this action traumatizes Phil and believe Phil should be replaced with an “animatronics model.” Representatives of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club believe Phil is treated better than the average child, kept in a climate controlled environment and annually inspected. An animatronics model is similar to the gopher that what was used in the movie Caddy Shack. With cloud cover in Central Pennsylvania tomorrow morning, Phil probably will not witness a shadow and his prognostication will identify six more weeks of wintry weather. Keep in mind Phil’s accuracy factor since 1867 is around 39%. Over the year’s, Phil has seen his shadow 103 times, has not seen it 18 times and didn’t have a report nine times. Phil Pastelok is recognized as an expert long-range meteorologist with AccuWeather.com’s Long-Range Forecasting Team and commented after the famous groundhog disclosed the forecast. Pastelok believes that the next 180 days will be similar to the Groundhog Day movie – practically the same. Possibly two big snow storms will hit the East. Potential flooding could occur in portions of the Tennessee Valley. Abnormally warm Gulf Coast air could activate severe weather for our area into March. An above normal outbreak of tornadoes are possible from Louisiana to western Georgia and Tennessee.