Groundhog day was especially festive this year as thousands gathered in Pennsylvania to find out what the most famous rodent in America has as his prediction for spring. As you may well know, if Punxsuwtawney Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If no shadow appears, spring will be coming soon. The annual ritual is based on German legend.

It appears that the proclamation is correct, and people throughout the northeast may have wished he did not see his shadow as a major winter storm sent another round of snow and ice to the region. Where many people only saw trace amounts of snow last week were now seeing a barrage of precipitation.

Of course, the foul weather did not make driving conditions any easier. A combination of snow, sleet, slush and rain is blanketing cities from Chicago to Boston. Authorities in several states are advising people to stay off the roads. In a number of our posts, we have highlighted the dangers of winter driving, especially the possibility of black ice.

Black ice is the term given to the virtually invisible sheets of ice that form when snow melts from car exhaust, for example, then re-freezes as temperatures fall below 32 degrees. Unlike snow, where drivers may have some measure of traction, ice is unforgiving; and drivers are more likely to lose control after hitting a patch of ice.

Black ice is blamed for many accidents that have occurred during the latest storm. So we advise our readers to be vigilant.