Punxsutawney, Pa., has Phil; Baltimore has Bill. And Bill said Tuesday morning that winter will take its time in arriving this year.
In a promotion for Old Bay, the iconic blend made by Sparks spice maker McCormick & Co., Bill is sent down a plank into the Inner Harbor. If he scuttles the the pier's right flank, an early winter is ahead; a path to the left indicates a warm fall.
Bill, in a reversal from a year ago, headed left.
It's not clear yet if science is backing up Bill's prognostication. The Climate Prediction Center's forecasts for the next few months show a tendency toward warmer-than-average temperatures in the western United States, but no particular leanings for the east.