Discuss as:

Bitter chill lingers but optimistic groundhog predicts early spring

The groundhog may have predicted an early spring Saturday morning in Punxsutawney, Penn. – where there were light snow showers and the temperature hovered around 18 degrees – but in many parts of the U.S., it felt like winter might never end.  

(According to Groundhog’s Day lore, if the groundhog does not see his shadow, spring will come early.)

A snowstorm is set to blow through eastern New England late Sunday afternoon, extending through Friday, according to the National Weather Service. The periods of most intense snow – with accumulations between four and eight inches – are predicted for Saturday afternoon and beginning again on Sunday.

In the area around Wilmington, Ohio, a National Weather Service advisory in effect through 7 a.m. ET warned that snow will continue to spread from west to east in the region. Two to four inches of snow accumulation is predicted.

NWS warned that travel could be impacted due to low visibility. It won’t be as bitter cold as it has been, however: The light snow will be accompanied by a high of 27 degrees.  

Not everywhere was frigid, of course.

In Phoenix, Ariz., temperatures were cooler than they had been in recent weeks – with scorching record-breakers around 80 degrees – but closer to 60 degrees.

In western Washington state, a thick layer of fog descended across the area, slowing cars, although the temperature remained mild – a relatively balmy high of 51 degrees.

In Dothan, Ala., where a man has kept a 5-year-old boy hostage in an underground bunker, a red flag warning was in effect due to “long durations of relative humidity below 25 percent,” according to the weather service.

A fire weather watch is also in effect Sunday afternoon and evening due to low humidity; dryer conditions mean fires could spread quickly.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

The groundhog didn't see his shadow Saturday morning, which means, according to lore, that spring will come early.

Related: Alabama hostage has medicine, toys in fifth day of standoff 

Related: Early spring, the groundhog says