"The South is experiencing its earliest spring in 40 years of records, while spring is days to weeks early across the East Coast and Pacific Northwest".
"On Thursday, a plump Punxsutawney Phil made his annual Groundhog Day appearance in front of hundreds of adoring fans to furrcast six more weeks of winter. It’s not exactly a bold prediction for the oversized squirrel: He has predicted a longer winter 78 percent of the time in his career. But you don’t need Phil, arguably the most famous “weather-forecasting” groundhog, to predict when the next season will arrive this year. (Also, he’s only right about 40 percent of the time.)
In many areas around the country, people can already see signs that spring is ahead of schedule. The arrival of these signals vary around the country, but the onset of warmer winter temperatures can push the development of plants and animals sooner in the season than normal.
The South typically experiences spring earlier than other regions, but even this year’s season is “20 to 25 days early” there, said Alyssa Rosemartin, an ecologist with the USA National Phenology Network, which tracks plant and animal observations through citizen scientists. “It’s never been that early before, so it is remarkable.”"
Kasha Patel and Scott Dance report for the Washington Post February 2, 2023.