5 questions: More winter ahead
Tonganoxie Phil calls for six more weeks of winter, but sees signs of warmer weather
Each Groundhog Day, Tonganoxie Phil, the local version of Punxsutawney Phil, steps outside to look for his shadow and predict the next six weeks of weather. Mirror news editor Shawn Linenberger chatted with Tonganoxie Phil, also known as longtime Tonganoxie physician Phil Stevens, about his predictions. Q: Did you see your shadow Monday? A: Yes. Q: What do you think about your prediction? A: According to tradition, this predicts another six weeks of winter weather. However, with recent temperatures in the 60s, and with the songbirds singing, I’m optimistic about the near future. Q: How and when did you get started as Tonganoxie Phil? A: About 15 years ago, I got a call from Randy Miller’s morning radio show in Kansas City. They were looking for a local rival to Pennsylvania’s famed groundhog forecaster, Punxsutawney Phil. I gladly accepted the challenge and reported to them at dawn the next day. Q: How accurate are you? A: Some years are better than others. Last year I was right on the nose, but we don’t mention the year before that. Q: What do you think of your furry counterpart? A: I really admire Punxsutawney Phil for his ability to forecast weather and to put up with the cold winters in Pennsylvania. I will do my best to keep up to his standards.