Groundhog Day 2011 has been more notable than usual. That is because Groundhog Day 2011 isn’t just about Punxsutawney Phil. For a good deal of the country, it is about digging out from another massive blizzard, with the Midwest getting the brunt of it this time. The Northeast is already used to such conditions this season, especially in New York. However, this Groundhog Day was good for the Northeast for many reasons, particularly because Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow.
Those Northeast towns and cities that got snow have certainly gotten worse this winter. Their greatest concern today might just be freezing rain, although that rain could help last week’s snow melt faster. But in places like New England, snow may still come down hard later on.
So far, Groundhog Day 2011 is defined by much more brutal conditions elsewhere. While Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow this morning, it is of little comfort to residents of Chicago, Milwaukee, and other Midwest cities.
More than half the states in the country were touched by a storm front yesterday, with the Midwest at the center. Even the Super Bowl hosts got affected, as Dallas was hit with cold, wet weather. Although the Super Bowl itself will be played indoors, fans hope it will be easier to travel to Cowboys Stadium than it is now.
Although Groundhog Day has been defined by this storm, Punxsutawney Phil got the spotlight back by not seeing his shadow. If his powers worked correctly, then this stands to be the last major winter storm of the year, which would be a big relief.
The Northeast has been praying for relief for some time, particularly in New York. Their snow removal budget has been exhausted, and fortunately it won’t have to be stretched that much more yet. Still, Chicago, Milwaukee, and other Midwest areas have to stretch their budget to the limit now.
While this Groundhog Day has a happier ending than expected, the real proof won’t come for several weeks. If the nation avoids another major winter storm front, then Punxsutawney Phil will be hailed as a genius. But if one comes anyway, to top this season off with a bang, then Phil will look quite incompetent.
The famed animal isn’t always right with his predictions, despite his famed reputation. But there are some years in which he can afford to look wrong and foolish, and some where he can’t. For people in the Midwest and Northeast, they need Punxsutawney Phil to be right this time, more than ever before.
Already, the legacy of Groundhog Day is a cold one through much of the U.S. Yet if Punxsutawney Phil has helped bring about an end to this cold streak, then today will truly be one to celebrate.
UPI.com- “Storm rocks Midwest, pushes into Northeast” http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/02/02/Storm-rocks-Midwest-pushes-into-Northeast/UPI-25451296633600/
San Francisco Chronicle- “Punxsutawney Phil Did Not See His Shadow; Winter To End!”