Once again, the fate of our weather is in the smallish hands of a rodent – but the news isn’t all bad. 

Feb. 2 is Groundhog Day, when Punxsutawney Phil, a semi-mythical groundhog from Pennsylvania, emerges from his burrow to make his prediction on the next six weeks’ weather. 

The verdict: On this partly cloudy day in the East, there was enough sun for Phil to see his shadow, indicating six more weeks of winter. That would put the onset of spring at just past mid March. 

A quick glance at the calendar confirms he’s more or less right — again — as he seems to be just about every year, give or take five days.

Of course, “winter” is relative. It means one thing in Pennsylvania, where Phil lives, and where today’s high is in the mid 30s under partly cloudy skies with overnight lows in the teens. It’s something else here in the desert, where Easterners pay big money to escape snow-shoveling duty.  

During the last couple of weeks, us spoiled desert dwellers in Maricopa braved the frost on our windshields in early mornings, with temperatures dropping into the low 30s, only to be rewarded by afternoon highs that reached into the 60s and 70s.  

Now, if Phil can keep triple-digit heat at bay here for another five months or so, perhaps his likeness could become the next monument in a Maricopa median.