PUNXSUTAWNEY — Appropriately beginning a day that pretty much saw all forms of weather — wind, snow, freezing rain, fog and sunshine — in the Weather Capital of the World, Punxsutawney Phil stunned shivering and wet fans at Gobbler's Knob and proclaimed Wednesday that no, he did not see a shadow, and yes, an early spring is on its way.
"The sky is clear; prepare yourself for warmth," Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle Vice-President Mike Johnston said following Punxsy Phil's prognostication, which came on the heels of severe winter storm warnings for the Midwest, Pennsylvania, New York and the Northeast.
Sounds like six more weeks of winter, right? Not so, according to Punxsutawney Phil.
For Jackie and Jon Lovitch of Pittsburgh — donning alarm clocks around their necks, beckoning Ben Hughes' bling of choice from several years ago — Punxsutawney was the only place to be for Groundhog Day, even if that meant sacrificing warmth for the experience.
"It was a mild irritant, but we'll deal with it," said Jon, who first read about Groundhog Day in a 1992 edition of Reader's Digest and has made the trip from Washington, D.C., New York City and his hometown of Kansas City, Mo. "We're not driving all this way to watch it on TV."