According to the 2011 Farmers’ Almanac, this winter will see rough and frigid conditions where temperatures will average below normal for about three-quarters of the nation. The eastern third of the United States, reaching as far south as Florida, will be hit particularly hard.
Significant snowfalls are also forecast for parts of nearly every zone. In the Middle Atlantic and Northeast States, a major snowfall in mid-February is expected -- possibly even blizzard conditions for New England.
For the myriad citizens likely to be affected by these adverse weather conditions, a great deal of hope was placed on promises of an early spring this morning from Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who emerges from his den each February 2 to predict the length of winter.
As a smaller than usual crowd of freezing people gathered before dawn in western Pennsylvania, the world's most famous groundhog failed to see his shadow and delivered the news that spring will come early. Phil historically forecasts winter to last another six weeks. Immediately after the rodent’s prediction, numerous members of the audience fell to their knees sobbing and giving thanks. But then a fierce chill pervaded the air, and a flurry of snow quickly covered the ground.
“He lied,” men and women in attendance cried out. “He lied. Spring will never come!”
Phil’s handlers tried to explain that the groundhog has been accurate only 39 percent of the time, a worse record than if a coin toss had been used. The desperate crowd, however, would not listen to reason.
Millions of Americans this year are without work or the income necessary to provide for adequate heat, shelter and provisions during what promises to be a harsh winter. As the flowing tears turned quickly to fear and anger, mobs of newly disadvantaged Americans charged the groundhog and tore him apart. Some pulled scraps from the carcass to use for food. Others wrote obscenities on nearby buildings using the animal’s blood. And one couple pushed the groundhog’s decapitated head onto a wooden spike to parade about the crowd in effigy.
Organizers say that in the history of Groundhog’s Day such violence has never been witnessed. They are planning to cancel all future events indefinitely.