America’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil in Gobbler’s Knob, PA, did not see his shadow when he came out of his hole on Groundhog Day, February 2. According to folklore, an early spring is forecast by the groundhog not seeing his shadow. If the groundhog does see his shadow on Groundhog Day, that means six more weeks of winter.
On February 2 this year, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his hole and did not see his shadow which brought cheers from crowd gathered at Gobbler’s Knob, PA and all those watching – an early Spring was the prediction!
Spring official arrived Wednesday and much of Pennsylvania and the Northeast have been hit with snow and the prediction of an early spring was inaccurate. Now, a prosecutor in Ohio is seeking the death penalty for Punxsutawney Phil! Michael Gmoser, prosecuting attorney in Butler County, Ohio says the totally inaccurate forecast warrants the death penalty for the groundhog!
Even if you are a proponent of the death penalty, you must agree this is rather extreme! There is no precedent in this country for holding anyone accountable for an inaccurate forecast. If there was, TV meteorologists would be executed on a regular basis. There are not many jobs in America where you can be wrong so much of the time and still keep your job. Being a meteorologist is one of those jobs!
If Punxsutawney Phil is sentenced to death, I would like to hold a candlelight vigil opposing the death penalty in this case and I’m sure I would be joined by every meteorologist in the country.
On Groundhog Day in New Orleans at the Audubon Zoo, our nutria – a relative of the groundhog – came out and did not see his shadow, which would be an indication of an early spring. We have experienced anything but an early spring! We have had a few warms days but chilling temperatures for this time of year continue next week with the possibility of upper 30’s on the North Shore. Fortunately, there has been no call for the death of T-Boy, our beloved nutria at the zoo – or for any meteorologist who does give us an inaccurate forecast!