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Groundhogs, 'thunder snow' and canceled flights

February 02, 2011|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • Punxsutawney Phil, the weather-predicting groundhog, on Wednesday.
Punxsutawney Phil, the weather-predicting groundhog, on Wednesday. (Keith Srakocic / Associated…)

With much of the nation paralyzed by a snowstorm of historic proportions, ask yourself: Do we really need Punxsutawney Phil to predict when spring will come? Or Connecticut Chuckles? Or Buckeye Chuck? Or Gen. Beauregard Lee?

Weather-predicting groundhogs were out in force Wednesday, Groundhog Day, from Pennsylvania to Georgia. The human handlers say none saw its shadow, which is said to predict an early spring. But then,who could see anything amid all the snow and ice?

Groundhogs aside, freaky weather appears to be gripping the nation, making travel for some difficult and even dangerous.

The ice and snow hammering a 2,000-mile swath of the U.S. caused the cancellation of thousands of flights Wednesday. A glance at the Airport Delays Map at Flightstats.com on Wednesday afternoon showed "excessive delays," appearing as red dots, throughout the Midwest and Northeast.

But my favorite visual of the day has got to be Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel screaming like a tackled quarterback amid "thunder snow" -- aka thunder and lightning -- on the streets of Chicago. Get a grip, Jim.

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