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Tuesday, thousands of people crammed into Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to await a special forecast from a groundhog. His name is Phil and the legend goes that if the 20-pounder emerges and sees his shadow, the United States can expect six more weeks of winter weather. But, if Phil doesn’t see his shadow, we can expect warmer temperatures and the arrival of an early spring.

Even though he’s been forecasting since 1887, Phil’s track record for the entire country is far from perfect. Compared to national temperatures, Phil has gotten it right 40% of the time over the past 136 years. Come on Phil, a flip of a coin is better than that.

In 1887, when he made his debut as the official groundhog forecaster for the entire country, Phil did see his shadow. His first prediction of six more weeks of winter was good for some, not so much for others. All I can say is if you have a job for 136 years and are right only 40% of the time, sign me up! Sorry phil, nothing presonal...


The January statistics are in from the NWS and temperatures from around my area ranged from 5.4 to 7.6 degrees above normal. It was the 9th warmest January on record in Moline.

This graphic shows temperature departures of each day of January in Moline. Only 5 of the 31 days had an average below normal. The first 25 days of the month were exceptional.

With all the mild air around, precipitation was often rain and for the month was above normal in all locations. January snowfall was generally 1 to 5 inches below normal with the majority of what fell coming in the last 5 days.

This is one of those rare winters which on the accumulated winter severity index is rated mild in the Quad Cities. In fact, so mild it's in the top 5% of all of our more gentle winters.

That's not the case from NC Iowa to the Canadian border where winter is considered to be severe to extreme in many instances.


A fast moving Arctic front blazed a path through the region Thursday afternoon cranking up the winds and sending temperatures spiraling. Early Friday temperatures wll be well below zero near and north of I-80, coldest over the deeper snow cover.

Even worse will be the wind chills around daybreak Friday in the range of 25 below north to 10 below south.

A wind chill advisory is in effect for the NE half of my area until 10:00am Friday morning.

Fortunately the winds subside quickly Friday afternoon as the ridge axis approaches the region. It will not help the temperatures much but wind chills won't be as much of a factor after the early morning. Here's what the EURO indicates for highs. It will be a darn cold start to the weekend.