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Tonganoxie Phil calls for the end to 2005 winter
Unlike his counterpart in Punxsutawney, Pa., when Phil Stevens opens his door on Feb. 2, he isn't greeted by thousands of cheering spectators.
And unlike his groundhog counterpart, Dr. Phil Stevens is predicting that winter will make a quick exit this year.
Last Wednesday -- Groundhog Day -- Stevens good-naturedly exited his home, took a quick look around and made his annual prediction.
For several years now, Stevens has taken on the persona of Tonganoxie Phil, an unofficial forecaster.
"It worked out great this year," he said. "When I got out and about, there was no shadow at all and that indicated we were going to have an early spring.
"And wouldn't you know, about two hours later, the sun came out."
While Stevens was predicting an early arrival of spring -- based on the fact that he didn't see his shadow last Wednesday -- Punxsutawney Phil did see his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter.
"They're in for it," Stevens said of the folks in Pennsylvania.
But here in northeast Kansas, the coming days should provide a break from winter's hold.
"Get out the sun screen," the good doctor advised.
"After January, we need it. The weatherman said there were two days of sun in January."
According to legend, shadows seen on Feb. 2 indicate six more weeks of winter, while no shadows means an early spring.
Stevens got his start as Tonganoxie Phil several years ago when he was a guest on KBEQ radio station's morning show.
Although the radio personality who originally had asked him went to another station, Stevens has continued the practice of noting whether he can see his shadow on Groundhog Day.