At sunrise on Sunday, Feb. 2, Punxsutawney Phil caught sight of his shadow and officially declared his prediction of six more weeks of winter.
Phil braved a major snowstorm that clobbered much of the Northeast on Sunday night and left icy, snow-packed roads for spectators in a quest to watch the famed groundhog's 129th prediction in western Pennsylvania.
Though Phil calls for winter's grip to hold strong across the entire U.S. for six more weeks, AccuWeather.com Long Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said the start of spring will not be as harsh as it was last year for the Northeast. While chilly shots will invade the eastern half of the country into March, the cold will be punctuated by mild days.
In the short-term offing, wintry conditions will extend through this month.
"February will remain unsettled and cold for the Northeast and Great Lakes," Pastelok said.
For the central and southern Rockies, Phil's prediction may ring true. A longer, late-winter pattern is expected to continue to unleash snow and cold air across the region, providing favorable ski conditions, Pastelok said.
Spring will officially kick off on March 20, lining up with Phil's 2015 prognostication.
Phil last declared for an early spring in 2013, only the 18th time to call for a premature arrival of the next season.