Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil Makes Winter Prediction

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Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania gets ready for Groundhog Day

Millions woke up Monday to sleet and blizzard conditions in the Northeast — the second round of winter weather pounding in a week.

Boston declared a snow emergency and banned on-street parking amid predictions of up to 14 inches of snow in parts of Massachusetts.

Winter storm warnings covered parts of nine Northeastern states after the storm buried the Midwest in snow and put more than 9 million people in the Chicago area under a blizzard warning Sunday.

Flights were canceled, schools closed and traffic snarled in the region.

And as it moves east, metropolitan areas such as New York City and Boston will be coated in ice.

“We would expect a lot of icing on our roads and sidewalks — up to a quarter-inch of ice in some places, and a lot of that would happen in the early morning hours,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned.

His Chicago counterpart echoed that sentiment.

“In this 24-hour cycle, we’re getting the same amount of snow we got in all of January,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

Up to a foot of snow was forecast in parts of Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

In Nebraska, two people died in car accidents as a result of slippery roads Sunday. The deaths occurred in Saunders and Lancaster counties, authorities said.

Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania gets ready for Groundhog Day

Save us, Phil!

Pennsylvania groundhog Punxsutawney Phil didn’t have to suffer the snow, but still forecast six more weeks of winter at his annual Groundhog Day appearance.

Legend has it that if Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he doesn’t, there will be an early spring.

Nan Moore, who’s visiting Punxsutawney to witness the prediction, correctly predicted the rodent’s forecast.

“He’s going to see his shadow,” she said. “We’re going to get more winter.”

Travel headaches

Unsurprisingly, airlines did not wait for a groundhog’s prediction to plan ahead. Moore than 2,200 Monday flights were canceled, according to Flightaware.com.

United, Delta, American, Virgin America, U.S. Airways, Southwest, Spirit and JetBlue all issued waivers that allow travelers to change flights without a penalty.

The air travel headache started over the weekend, with thousands of flights canceled Sunday, many of them in and out of Chicago.

Trains may be affected, too

In preparation for the storm, Amtrak said it plans to adjust its schedule based on the weather.

“With extreme conditions expected in some areas during the next 24 to 36 hours, crews are actively monitoring the latest forecasts and planning for the possibility that service adjustments may be necessary,” it said in a statement Sunday.

There may be changes to Acela Express and Northeast Regional services, Amtrak said. It urged Monday travelers to monitor schedules.

“We will re-evaluate service as conditions warrant,” the rail service said.

Snow day

Chicago canceled public school Monday, along with Boston and Detroit. Omaha, Nebraska, and the Ohio cities of Akron, Toledo and Cleveland canceled public school as well, but New York City public schools will remain open.