‘Tonganoxie Phil’ predicts more winter
Dr. Philip Stevens' record is solid.
Three attempts at weather forecasting, and the good doctor's never been wrong. Last Friday, he tried again, and in six weeks we will know whether Stevens will be four for four.
On Feb. 2, 1998, Stevens first played the role of Tonganoxie Phil a Kansas City, Mo., radio station's version of Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania ground hog who each year emerges from his den, looking for his shadow. As the legend goes, if the ground hog sees his shadow, winter will last for six more weeks.
On Friday, Tonganoxie Phil and Puxsutawney Phil were at it again.
As the orange-yellow sun inched above the horizon in Tonganoxie's cold blue sky, the KBEQ radio audience turned its attention to Stevens.
"Tonganoxie Phil, Tonganoxie Phil," called KBEQ's "Dangerous" Dave DeMarco, standing outside Stevens' Fourth Street office in downtown Tonganoxie.
"It's so good to be up again," Tonganoxie Phil quipped. "We have a huge shadow here."
So as he did last year, Stevens predicted six more weeks of winter weather.
"It's going to be cold," Stevens said. "But we're tough, and we can take it."
The Groundhog Day tradition is based on a German superstition that an animal casting its shadow on Feb. 2 the Christian holiday of Candlemas means another six weeks of winter is coming. Otherwise, it suggests an early spring.
"I'll go hibernate, but I'll see you next February second," Stevens told KBEQ listeners.