Groundhog Day 2017 is officially upon us, and the forecast - from the Weather Capitol of the World, a.k.a. Punxsutawney, Pa. - is in.
Ah yes. This morning marked that magical moment when Punxsutawney Phil emerges from Gobbler's Knob to answer the eternal question ...
Will we have to endure six more weeks of snow, wind, ice and other winter "fun" or will an early spring reprieve come sooner than that?
Only Punxsy Phil and his shadow can say with certainty.
And he has done so, moments ago in the heart of Western Pennsylvania, laying the weather smack down on us all. The rodent's verdict:
SHADOW! Winter will continue for a month and a half!
Phil, who emerged from his burrow moments ago to find conditions just bright enough to see his shadow in Western Pa., has spoken.
According to folklore, this is all we need to know.
The appearance of Phil’s shadow, now sighted a whopping 102 times since 1887, means winter will carry on as per usual in North America.
When Phil does not peep that, spring comes early.
Such was not the case today, as the prognosticator "told" this to the president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Bill Deeley, at 7:22 a.m.
As to whether scientists agree with his outlook?
History, and sophisticated National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration models, suggest that Phil's accuracy is marginal at best.
The accuracy of the venerable, meteorologically inclined rodent's prediction is secondary, of course, to the true meaning of Groundhog Day.
Which is ... we have no earthly idea honestly.
It's basically just a fun reason to get out there one early February day and appreciate the wondrous power, mystery and majesty of nature.
Or recite Bill Murray Groundhog Day quotes.
Why? Because how can you not. And remember this fun fact ... whether there's an early spring or not, 2/2 marks the mid-point of winter.
That's right, it's halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox (a little fun trivia for you there), hence the February 2 celebration.
Basically, either way, spring is almost close!
Sort of! February is a short month and the days are already getting longer, slightly ... so hey, there's that too. (Also, Beyonce is pregnant.)
You see, all hope is not lost. Not forever.
We know that it's been a rough couple of weeks for a lot of us, and the prospect of a long winter isn't much to get excited about.
But Hang in there, America. Hang in there.