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Was Punxsutawney Phil Wrong? Prosecutor Says He Misrepresented Spring

Groundhog handler Ben Hughes and Punxsutawney Phil in Feb. 2011.
Jeff Swensen
Getty Images
Groundhog handler Ben Hughes and Punxsutawney Phil in Feb. 2011.

Here's the gist of what the most famous groundhog in the world told us on Feb. 2:

Punxsutawney Phil, the King of the Groundhogs,

Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators,

Weather Prophet without Peer,

was awakened from his burrow at 7:28 am

with a tap of the President's cane....

And so ye faithful,

there is no shadow to see

An early Spring for you and me.

Uhh...not according to the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center, which today called for "colder than normal temperatures for the Great Plains eastward, except for New England and the upper Midwest." Butler County, Ohio prosecutor Michael Gmoser is so tired of snow that he's accusing Phil of " misrepresenting spring", according to the Associated Press.

He's even filed a mock "indictment" against the little critter on behalf of the people of Ohio, for an unclassified felony, says WCPO, which has the document. The whole thing is a sham, including Gmoser's suggestion for the death penalty. Speaking to ABC.com, he said "Let's face it. Phil is already behind bars. He's got a life sentence...There's no sentence left for Phil."

Gmoser says he's just making light of the situation, and has no hard feelings toward Phil - he just wants to point out just how wrong he was. The AP notes for the next 10 days, Ohio temperatures will linger in the mid-30's. A storm is expected this weekend with accumulation of between four and eight inches of snow.

Phil's backers are defending his prognostication. John Griffiths, one of Phil's handlers, told the Cincinnati Enquirer there've been several springlike temperatures reported in parts of the country since Feb. 2. "And maybe there's just a dark cloud over Ohio," Griffiths slyly observed.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Korva Coleman is a newscaster for NPR.