Why I never gave up hope in Punxsutawney Phil

Me and a mural of Phil in Punxsutawney, PA 01/24/2013 Sean Simmers | ssimmers@pennlive.com

This story was originally published on PennLive.com on March 14, 2013. 

I never lost faith in Punxsutawney Phil.

When I met the famous groundhog and stared into his soulful black eyes, I just knew that this was one marmot I could trust. While Phil’s appearance frequently changes, I believe fervently that his weather prognostication skills do not.

So when he announced in groundhogese that we would have an early spring, I rejoiced, put away my winter gloves and bid my snow boots farewell.

I kept my coat out because I get cold easily – the fact that I wore it so often after Feb. 2 is due to that, not to any lingering winter weather, clearly.

It hasn’t been an easy road for us Phil believers. There were and are plenty of haters. Skeptics point out that he’s only been accurate 39 percent of the time (or so says the Stormfax Almanac at any rate) and that last year he called for six more weeks of winter… and it was the fourth warmest winter in the United States.

But who needs facts? Phil is as accurate a weatherman as Santa is real – and no one can persuade me otherwise.

Things took an ugly turn rather recently for us groundhog believers. I was mocked – nay – ridiculed as the forecasters called for a snowmageddeon of epic proportions.

As schools announced their closings, I clung to my belief. Surely, Phil wouldn’t lie to one such as I?

When the newsroom filled with people moaning and groaning about how Phil had lied, I stood up for that groundhog with all the passion of a fifth grader talking about the latest drama in “Monster High.” They laughed at me.

But guess who’s laughing now?

Snowmageddon was perhaps the lamest event in historyfor the Harrisburg area. Sure, there was a dusting of white flakes, but roads were clear and most of it had melted by my house by noon.

The other day the skies released the first batch of spring rain (notably different from its winter counterpart by temperature and the childlike qualities it bestows on those it falls upon).

And then on March 13 there was the freak day of snow, rain, sun. But the snow never stuck – because it isn’t winter anymore folks, it’s spring.

Phil turns his nose up at you snow lovers, and I do too.

When it comes to the weather, there’s only one forecast I need to hear – and that’s on Feb. 2 on Gobbler’s Knob.

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