Saturday is Groundhog Day. Every year on Feb. 2, Pennsylvania’s famous woodchuck, Punxsutawney Phil, makes his annual appearance along with a huge town celebration.
He will be hauled out of his comfortable fake tree stump on Gobbler’s Knob at precisely 7:25 a.m. to determine if spring is right around the corner. According to the legend, if Phil “sees” his shadow, we can expect six more weeks of slumber. However, if skies are cloudy and Phil does not see his shadow, then spring is right around the corner.
Based on the latest information, high pressure is expected to be over that region, as it often is at this time of year, which means the groundhog will likely see his shadow. Phil sees his shadow approximately 90 percent of the time.
I’m already getting comments on when spring will arrive here in the Inland Northwest. Snowfall totals are expected to be above normal across most stations before the season ends on June 30. In addition to the snow, it has been very cold. The average temperature at the airport, as of early Wednesday, is 23.6 degrees, which is a whopping 5.7 degrees below normal.
After more snow fell earlier this week, more than 37 inches have fallen at the Spokane International Airport for the 2012-’13 season. The seasonal average is about 45 inches. It looks like temperatures will finally warm up a bit early next week, but a new storm in the Pacific will eventually bring our region more snow by the middle of February.
I still believe that we’ve seen the majority of the season’s snowfall during the first half of winter. The airport should end up with around 45 to 50 inches of snow when the season ends in June.