Groundhog Day 2014 Chilly for Northland but nothing like 1996

By KBJR News 1

February 3, 2014 Updated Feb 3, 2014 at 12:06 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)

"Ladies and gentlemen, Punxsutawney Phil!" said one of the dapper gents in Punxsutawney, PA on Sunday morning.

The folks in Pennsylvania feel the seasons can be predicted via groundhog and shadow.
The tradition of watching animals for signs of spring is an old German one.
Groundhog Day has been an American event since 1841 and Punxsutawney Phil here and his ancestors have been on the job since 1887.
This winter has been a cold one from Pennsylvania to the Northland.
Minnesota native Ryan Dunleavy recently finished his Marine Corps hitch at the 29 Palms base in the desert of California.

"There are times I miss the warm weather when it is cold like today." said former CPL Dunleavy.

Ground hog day 2014 started at 31 below in International Falls but that pales in comparison to 1996.
That's when Kathy Hoppa's National Weather Service observation station in Tower set the Minnesota record at 60 below.

"I'm rather pleased that Minnesota, the northeastern part of the state, has the credit for a change." said Hoppa on Groundhog Day 1996.

After all these years, the folks of Tower Soudan haven't sought much credit for the record.

"Tower Soudan is really shy. They're Minnesotan, don't you know; like the people from Lake Woebegone, we don't like to brag." said Tower Soudan resident Al Reller on Groundhog Day 2010.

Groundhog day 1996 may have been even colder in nearby Embarrass.
But, the extreme cold made the mercury in NWS observer Roland Fowler's official thermometer separate.
He's ready now for a replay, though.

"The last time, my thermometer broke. Mine will go to a hundred below now so I'll be in the ball game." said Fowler from the warmth of his home during one of this January's coldest days.

So, what did Punxsutawney Phil say about this year's game?

"My shadow I see, it's six more weeks of winter. It must be!" read the groundhog's handler to the assembled throng.

Research says Phil has been 39% accurate since 1887.
Mathematicians say that's six points over random chance.
Around here, six more weeks of winter would be a short season.
National Weather Service data indicates we could be colder than normal through May.
Luckily, Marine Corps vet Ryan Dunleavy doesn't mind.

"I am happy where I am. I love the seasons here, especially snow boarding."

Meteorologist Dave Anderson, KBJR 6 and Range 11.

If it makes you feel any better, the Old Farmers Almanac thinks we'll average three degrees above normal in February.