Archive for Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Brrr! Tonganoxie Phil predicts more winter

Tonganoxie Phil saw his "groundhog" shadow Monday, which means Tonganoxie will have six more weeks of winter. Phil Stevens, a longtime Tonganoxie physician, wears another hat every February as Tonganoxie's answer to Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pa.

Tonganoxie Phil saw his "groundhog" shadow Monday, which means Tonganoxie will have six more weeks of winter. Phil Stevens, a longtime Tonganoxie physician, wears another hat every February as Tonganoxie's answer to Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pa.

February 6, 2008

On Groundhog Day, Tonganoxie Phil, the conjecturer of conjecturers, the vaticinator of all vaticinators, emerged from his front door.

Looking at the sunny sky above and his shadow below, Tonganoxie Phil had no choice but to declare six more weeks of winter, matching the prediction made by the famous Pennsylvania groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.

And after being sick twice this season and still recovering from a case of bronchitis, Dr. Phil Stevens wasn't looking forward to more wintry weather.

"It's been long enough," he said. "I can't wait until spring."

The winter has definitely taken its toll on Tonganoxie.

Pat Slattery, spokesman for the central region of the National Weather Service, said snow has played a big role this winter.

"We have had more snow than usual, but we haven't had any big snows," Slattery said Monday.

While Slattery doesn't take too much stock in either Phil's predictions, he does believe there will be six more weeks of winter simply because spring does not officially start until March 20. Slattery also mentioned that the weather service's 30-day outlook still has a good chance for higher-than-normal temperatures and a higher-than-normal chance for below-average precipitation.

Besides listening to the words of expertly trained climatologist and meteorologist, we can also take heed in Tonganoxie Phil's percentage of accurately predicting the next month and a half. While the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club boasts its Phil has had 100 percent accuracy for more than 120 years, Tonganoxie Phil said his predictions are about 50-50.

"I could just flip a coin," Stevens said. "Sometimes it can be embarrassing. I will say there will be six more weeks of winter and by the next week tulips will be blooming."

Stevens took on the role several years ago after being contacted to be a guest on Randy Miller's radio morning show on KBEQ.

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