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Phil’s ironic prediction

By Debra Dobbins

Today is Groundhog’s Day, a quirky American celebration of Punxsutawney Phil.

Phil popped up all over today’s paper. He was on the front page, in an editorial cartoon and in two strips on the comic page. Also, Dave Buchanen passed along some interesting groundhog facts on page B1. You can read Buchanen’s article in our print or e-edition.

Phil got his first name from the town in Pennsylvania that annually holds a ceremony with him as the star attraction. According to legend, Phil emerges in early February. If he sees his shadow, we have six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, we’ll have an early spring.

I’m not sure what the answer is to the question in the cartoon above, but it is a timely one.  A massive winter storm is slamming one-third of our nation.

Ironically, Phil did not see his shadow this morning, indicating an early spring. Tell that to the hapless souls who see their cars encased in ice and their streets obliterated by snow.

Hypothermia, by the way, is composed of two Greek word parts. “Hypo” means under, and “therm” means heat. (Think of what a thermometer measures.) So, hypothermia is a subnormal body temperature, according to Webster’s.  Oh, and succumbs means to submit or, in this case, to die.

News reports say that a smaller crowd turned out today to learn Phil’s forecast. If folks were worried about running the risk of hypothermia and decided to stay inside, we can empathize. Our high today is only supposed to hit 15 degrees. On the bright side, our cars are accessible and our streets dry. Let’s send warm thoughts eastward; folks there need them.

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