U.S. News - Two days after the early spring prediction of Pennsylvania's Punxatawney Phil, regular winter weather has returned to the continental United States, NOAA reported earlier today. In what has been called by many the coldest winter in memory, this early data supports Phil's animal sense.
"He's a groundhog that understands weather patterns," Pennsylvania man Earl Hollinger told us Friday. "Simple as that. If he says winter's gonna end early, it's gonna end early. This weather proves he's right. My car started this morning, so I know it's almost over."
In an official statement this morning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced:
Data taken from over 3,500 cities and towns across the continental United States show that 86% of locations are experiencing historically average temperatures. Considering current weather fronts and wind systems, those temperatures in most American locales are expected to follow historic averages in the foreseeable future.
"This is unprecedented; usually there is some deviation from the historic mean for at least 50-60% of localities," said David Grier in Washington, interpreting NOAA's announcement. "I've quite honestly never seen such uniform..uniformity in the nation's weather patterns." Grier further stated that this could signal an early trend upwards in temperatures, given this and last week's major storms that affected 100 million Americans, crippled northern cities, and dumped unprecedented amounts of snow on Chicago and other Midwestern cities.
Used-car salesman Dale Farven of Tyler, TX, told reporters, "It's good to be back to normal winter and not that cold winter. I sure hope that Punxahwhatsit Phil is right."
Punxatawney Phil declined to comment, as he saw our shadow and returned to his burrough, until spring presumably.