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Expert dismisses groundhog's weather prediction as 'folklore'

REUTERS
Groundhog co-handler Ron Ploucha (R) holds Punxsutawney Phil as the Groundhog Club's Bob Roberts (L) reads the famous groundhog's annual weather prediction on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, on the 127th Groundhog Day, February 2, 2013. Phil did not see his shadow signaling an early end to winter. REUTERS/Jason Cohn (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS)

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Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

There was no sign of the spring that Punxsutawney's legendary groundhog forecast when he did not see his shadow on Saturday morning.

Snow is expected through Sunday, and the temperature overnight into Monday is expected to fall to 10 degrees.

“I don't even know what the groundhog did, and it doesn't matter,” said Pat Herald, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Moon. “It's one of those folklore things. But it looks like they have a lot of fun up there, singing and dancing, staying up all night,”

The weather service is predicting between 2 and 4 inches of snow by Sunday evening.

“By next weekend, temperatures could be 10 degrees above normal,” Herald said.

For the rest of winter, the weather service says there is an equal chance of temperature swings either way. And there's a 30 percent chance of its being warmer than normal through May.

Phil's predictions, made in front of thousands of people on Gobbler's Knob, are not always right on. Last year, for example, he told people to prepare for six more weeks of winter.

The Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University later listed that January to June as the warmest seven-month period since systematic records began being kept in 1895.

In 2010, Phil predicted an early spring. There were 48.7 inches of snow in Pittsburgh that February.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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