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It's Groundhog Day (cue the Sonny & Cher song)

Posted by Jack Pickell  February 1, 2011 01:19 PM

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In the middle of a winter that thus far has featured a steady stream of snowstorms, it is somewhat appropriate that our current tempest is well into its second day on Feb. 2, or Groundhog Day. This is, of course, the day when the small Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney gathers for an announcement about whether or not a particular groundhog saw his shadow -- with the remaining length of winter hanging in the balance.

He didn't, by the way, so take that for what it's worth.

However, the weather might have some New Englanders thinking more of the 1993 comedy "Groundhog Day". In the film, Bill Murray portrays TV weatherman Phil Connors, assigned to cover the festivities in snowy Punxsutawney.

Connors begins living out the same day, again and again, with the exact same things happening around him. He actually memorizes all that's happening, and tries to use it to his advantage, particularly as he tries to win the love of his producer, played by actress Andie MacDowell.

Each day begins for Connors with the clock-radio going off, and Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe" playing on the radio, and the day goes on -- exactly the same way -- from that point.

Weather-weary folks in the Boston area might feel a little like Phil Connors, trapped in a repetitive cycle from which there seems to be no escape. No sooner do they finally get their driveway clear of snow, or finish chopping all the ice on the walkways, then the local TV meteorologists make reference in their five-day forecasts to a "system we're keeping our eye on that has the potential to be a significant storm." And have these storms ever lived up to their potential.

Continuing the repetitive pattern, as the storm nears, newscasters warn us of a potentially miserable morning (and/or evening) commute. Again, pretty much on the money with most of those too.

Next come the parking bans, either in a robo-call from a city or town official, or in a text or e-mail alert. You're instructed that cars need to be off the streets, but you already know that. You knew it before the phone rang.

Next is the inevitable call from the schools, sometimes in the early morning hours, announcing another snow day for students. By now you can recite the announcement along with the recorded voice of the principal.

When the storm hits, you watch the extended coverage, or read the latest storm coverage online (shameless plug alert) like at And what do you know -- the snowfall totals are turning out to be on the upper end of the predicted range. Just like they were in the last storm... and the one before that.... and the one before that.

Finally it's time to shovel. And even if, back in December, you felt like a snow-moving novice, by now you consider yourself an expert, with successfully thought-out strategies on how and where to place the new snow with so much old snow all around you. It's not unlike Phil Connors, who, in an attempt to impress his music-loving producer, takes a quick piano lesson from the local music teacher. Then he takes another lesson, and another. Before long he's bringing down the house with an up-tempo blues piano solo, and on his way to getting the girl.

Eventually Phil Connors solved his problem. Folks in our region will too. It may seem like an endless cycle, but as hard as it might be to envision, the winter will end and spring will arrive -- maybe sooner than later, if you listen to Punxsutawney Phil.

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