The first week of February has been a busy one for weather news. The
country saw deadly storms in Florida and Punxsutawney Phils annual prediction.
Deadly storms hit Florida
Four counties in Florida were declared federal disaster areas this week
by President Bush after thunderstorms rolled through and produced deadly
tornadoes. To date at least 20 people have been killed as a result of the
storms but the final death count is expected to rise as the clean-up continues in Florida. At least 3 tornadoes hit before dawn and they contained winds as high as 165 miles per hour. The timing of the tornadoes meant many people were asleep and did not hear the warnings that were being broadcast that tornadoes were coming.
The hardest hit area was Lake County where a church that was built to withstand a category 4 hurricane was destroyed. A category 4 storm has winds up to 150 miles per hour. Other areas that had tornadoes were Paisley and New Smyrna Beach. The storms also killed 18 young endangered whooping crane birds
that were brought to Florida as a project to create a secondary migratory flock of the birds. The birds were being kept at Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge which is near Crystal River, Florida. Workers at the refuge found all the birds dead and believe that a strong storm surge blew the tide in and the birds drowned although the official cause of death has not yet been identified.
Groundhog Day 2007
We anxiously awaited that furry little groundhog who has many non-winter lovers hoping to hear the good news that he didn't see his shadow and that spring is on the way. The snow and winter lovers meanwhile hope that the groundhog sees his shadow which then means 6 more weeks of winter. This year the "official" groundhog Punxsutawney Phil who resides in Pennsylvania did not see his shadow.
Phil has been making predictions since 1887 and since then he has seen his shadow 96 times and 14 times he has not seen his shadow. The last time Phil did not see his shadow was in 1999. According to legend if Phil sees his shadow there will be 6 more weeks of winter weather and if he does not see his shadow there will be an early spring. Phil says we are in for an early spring. Let's see if that furry little groundhog is right in his predictions although here in Connecticut we just had up to 4 inches of snow in some areas over the weekend.