Winter Weather Update, Groundhog Phil says six more weeks, activities to do

Graphic: Ashley Olinger
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow implying there will be six more weeks of snow.

By Anna Ashcraft
Staff Writer/Spectator

This winter seems to be a never-ending blast of cold and snow, but that will come to an end soon enough. March 21st marks the first day of spring and hopefully, unlike last year it will be warming up by then.

The Washington Post stated Erie, Pa is ranked as number three in the nations snowiest cites, with Buffalo at number two and Worchester Mass with the number one spot at 92.1 inches. Erie has had a total of 85.9 inches of snow this season surpassing the average of 73.6 inches.

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of winter this past month. Phil came out of his hole on Feb 2 at 7:25 a.m. in his hometown of Punxsutawney, Pa. The story of the Ground Hog is that when they come out of hibernation they either see their shadow or they don’t, and that predicts how much winter we have left.

According to National Geographic, he does not live in the ground so he does not hibernate. He lives in a year round temperature-regulated, manmade burrow connected to the Punxsutawney Memorial Library. It even has a glass-viewing window. He lives with his wife Phillis.

The Ground Hog is notorious for giving his predictions on how much winter we have left, but the Washington Post states he has had around an 80% accuracy rate over the years. Ground Hogs have been giving predictions in the United States since 1887 when the Dutch immigrants brought the tradition over. It originally was hedgehogs that predicted the weather in Europe, but they are not indigenous to the U.S.

The Police Force of Merrimack, New Hampshire issued a joke arrest warrant for the rodent. They put on their Facebook page, “We know we are a day early, however we here at Merrimack Police felt compelled to let the public know that there is a warrant for Punxsutawney Phil! We have received several complaints from the public that this little varmint is held up in a hole, warm and toasty. He told several people that Winter would last 6 more weeks, however he failed to disclose that it would consist of mountains of snow! If you see him, do not approach him as he is armed and dangerous. Call Merrimack Police, we will certainly take him into custody!” This is alongside the picture of the groundhog from the 1980 film “Caddyshack” and it has received around 5k likes and 9k shares.

Winter started early for those of us in northwest Pennsylvania, when the blizzard hit us in early November and dropped an unreal amount of snow for that time of year. After that there didn’t seem to be too many snow storms just lots of cold temperatures. Then, January brought back the snow and freezing temperatures.

Winter storm Juno happened on Jan 2628. It brought two to three feet of snow in some areas of the Northeast. Lunenburg and Auburn Mass. received 36 inches in just that one-week shattering past records.

Directly after that, Winter Storm Linus came on Feb 1-3 and hit the Northeast, Mid-West and New England. It brought 11.2 inches to the Erie and Edinboro area on top of the snow we already had.

After Linus, around 15 people were reported dead because of the blizzards. One 67-year-old woman from Iowa died from exposure, many died in car accidents, and six men from Illinois and Wisconsin died in snow shoveling related incidents.

Winter storm Marcus came on Feb 6 – 8 bringing ice, which is still caked on the streets and sidewalks. The latest winter storm is Winter Storm Neptune, which is bringing a bulk of the snow to Boston, Michigan, Maine and New England.

Edinboro will be hit with snow all week, around one to three inches a day; but nothing compared to the many blizzards we’ve had. It seems like the worst is behind us.

There are lots of activities to do in the winter. Peek n’ Peak is only around a 30 min drive from campus. Mt. Pleasant in Edinboro is even closer with reasonable rates. Monday nights are college nights where lift tickets are only $15. There will be a CORE snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trip on Feb 21 for $5. Signups start Feb 9.

Anna Ashcraft is a staff writer for the Spectator. She can be reached by eupnews.spectator@gmail.com