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Not so fast, groundhog

Punxsutawney Phil may have looked at a calendar this morning, not his shadow.

While the calendar shows six more weeks of winter, the National Weather Service isn’t so sure.

“When you start seeing that much flash bulbs or light around, I don’t know how you can’t see a shadow,” NWS Meteorologist Jeff Boyne jokingly said about the groundhog’s eventful morning.

According to the NWS, temperatures may remain warmer than normal for more than a month.

“It looks like we’re going to see some above normal temperatures through February and into March — maybe even April,” Boyne said.

NWS officials originally suspected February to be colder than normal; however, tropical conditions in the Pacific Islands are continuously pushing warm air over the United States. That may remain for months.

Boyne added cold spells and spurts of severe winter weather may still be on the horizon, but those isolated events are hard to predict more than a week in advance. Overall, however, conditions should remain similar to what they have been this winter.

Regardless, the NWS is still having fun with Groundhog’s Day. A special page on its website explains how European Celts believed animals had supernatural powers on special days that were halfway between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. For more fun facts and information, go to www.crh.noaa.gov/arx.