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Punxsutawney Phil predicted spring is on its way!  Okay…

The famous weather-reading groundhog ascended (was pulled) from his hole today at his home at Gobbler’s Knob, near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and under the cloud from the massive storm covering much of the country – one of its largest winter storms since the 1950s – did not see his shadow.  According to American folklore, if the rodent sees his shadow, then the country can expect six more weeks of winter. If he does not, then spring is on the way.

Phil’s prediction offers some hope of respite for the thirty states crippled by what the National Weather Service as “life-threatening” weather conditions stretching across 2,000 miles from Texas to Maine.

A massive storm billed barreled toward the northeast Wednesday, leaving vast swaths from Chicago to New York paralyzed by snow and ice. Thousands of motorists have been stranded all night and airports and schools are closed. Chicago received up to 17 inches of snow with more still possible, and Missouri as much as 1 1/2 feet. More than a foot dropped on northern Indiana and southeast Kansas, while Oklahoma saw as much as a foot.

Phil, you have a lot of faith!

“God, be with all those bearing up on this massive winter storm. Give them strength and peace. Keep people safe from the physical dangers.”

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