Our View: Woodstock Willie, we're at your mercy

Published: Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

The polar vortex didn’t wait long to descend across McHenry County once more, blasting us with snow, terrible cold, biting winds, snowdrifts and minimum visibility on roadways.

How can the region fight back?

The snowplow crews, bless them, have done a yeoman’s job keeping the streets, roads and highways as clear as possible.

Emergency crews have been at the ready to respond to traffic crashes, fire calls and other problems caused by the inclement weather.

Repairmen have done what they can to repair pipes that froze and burst.

Leaders of schools and various public agencies have used closures, cancellations and other adjustments to bend to Old Man Winter’s will.

Ah, but on the horizon, it could be that a large, furry rodent might offer guidance toward winter weather salvation.

Groundhog Day is Sunday. Maybe Woodstock Willie can offer relief.

Relatively mild winters of recent years have relegated the groundhog to somewhat of an irrelevance around here. After all, if you have days in the 30s and 40s and nights in the teens and 20s, winter is not so bad, is it?

Not so, this winter of 2013-14.

Plenty of snow. Plenty of below-zero temperatures. Plenty of misery.

We need a little Groundhog Day, right this very minute.

And Woodstock Willie had better not see his shadow, or the promise of an early spring will go right out the drafty, frost-covered window.

We’re not sure whether the furry rodent is susceptible to a bit of bribery, such as tasty goodies left outside its burrow.

Or perhaps groundhog burrows could be surreptitiously shaded with tents or hunting blinds so that when the groundhog comes out on that fateful day, there’s no way he can see his shadow.

Let’s see. Groundhog Day is Sunday – the same day as the Super Bowl, in fact.

Across the country, millions will cheer for the Broncos, and millions more will cheer for the Seahawks.

Tell you what, we’ll be cheering for Woodstock Willie to predict an early spring.

If that good-news prediction, unfortunately, fails to happen, we’ll all need to keep up our strength for another six weeks of brutal winter.

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