Punxsutawney Phil is getting ready to make his annual prediction at Gobbler's Knob this morning, and AccuWeather.com has clues to what he should say.
Phil will emerge from his burrow in western Pennsylvania at 7:20 a.m. EST this morning to determine how the rest of winter will unfold.
If the groundhog witnesses his shadow, six more weeks of winter will follow. Spring will come early if no shadow appears.
Latest indications point to Phil not seeing his shadow. It will still be mostly cloudy as Phil steps out to make his prognostication this morning. The temperature will be right around freezing.
Phil, however, may surprise AccuWeather.com meteorologists and see his shadow even if the sky is cloudy. Remember, the bright lights of cameras will be on Phil as he gives his annual prediction.
Phil determining that spring will come early would match the thinking of the AccuWeather.com Long Range Forecasting Team for parts of the United States.
AccuWeather.com Long Range Forecaster Jack Boston expects more frequent warm days for the East from the last week in February through much of March.
The East has experienced mild days numerous times so far this winter, but occasional cold blasts have put temperatures on a roller coaster ride. There will be less of these cold shots late February into March.
Boston also feels that February will be a stormier month with storms set to track from the southern Plains to the East.
One such storm has the potential to bring significant snow to a part of the Northeast later this week, according to AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
With the warm air in place, the Long Range Forecasting Team is especially concerned for major severe weather events to unfold from mid-February into March in the corridor from East Texas to the Carolinas.
The interior of the Northeast and the Great Lakes, however, may view a prediction of an early spring as being wrong.
The expected storm track should put these areas in line to receive significantly more snow than recent months.
The opposite will take place in the Northwest with an invasion of Pacific storms to become less frequent in February.
A few of the storms with the East as their final destination in February may first drop into the Southwest, delivering much needed rain. However, a surge of warm temperatures will quickly follow any storm.
The tradition of Groundhog's Day stems from the early Christian holiday of Candlemas Day, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's official website. How winter came to an end would depend on the weather that day.
When the Germans were introduced to this tradition, they incorporated a hedgehog and its viewing of a shadow. The groundhog, common in Pennsylvania, replaced the hedgehog when the Germans settled in America.
Punxsutawney Phil's shadow has been observed 99 times since 1887, while Phil has only predicted an early spring 16 times (2011 being the last). A record of the prediction was not kept on nine occasions in the late 1800s.
Tropical Depression Two has lost its battle to become the next Atlantic tropical storm, but it will still increase shower activity across the Caribbean to end the week.
After temperatures briefly climb to typical midsummer levels, another cooldown will roll into the Midwest and expand to the East for the last part of July.
A potent storm system moving out of the Northwest United States will bring an elevated risk of tornadoes to parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan on Thursday.
Severe thunderstorms that blasted areas of Arkansas with damaging winds and heavy rainfall will continue to race through eastern Texas.
Fresh cooler and less humid air will settle over the Washington, D.C., area for Thursday and Friday.
As California continues to be plagued by intense drought conditions, some surfers are reaping what may be one of very few benefits to such a dry season.
Phoenix, AZ (1992)
Between 4" and 6" of rain fell in locally heavy downpours.
A record cold morning: 43 degrees at Alpena and 42 degrees St. Ste. Marie.
10 million people were left homeless by torrential rains over a 12 day period. 90 people were killed by floods in the state of West Bengal.