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Punxsutawney Phil 'predicts' early spring; marmots in Wisconsin, Michigan, Canada weigh in

on February 02, 2016 10:00 PM

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) — The handlers of Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, said the furry rodent failed to see his shadow at dawn Tuesday, meaning he "predicted" an early spring.

"Is this current warm weather more than a trend? Perchance this winter has come to an end? There is no shadow to be cast, an early Spring is my forecast!," read Jeff Lundy, vice president of the Inner Circle of The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

Lundy is a member of the group sporting top hats that announces the forecast every year.

A German legend has it that if a furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2 winter will last another six weeks. If not, spring comes early.

The forecast was delivered with temperatures in the low 20s, on a clear day when the temperature was expected to reach the unseasonably mild mid-40s.

The Inner Circle congratulated the mid-week crowd of about 10,000 revelers, which the group said was one of the largest for a weekday celebration. Many of those in attendance had stayed overnight and partied into the wee hours waiting for the groundhog's forecast.

Truth be told, Phil's handlers don't wait to see if he sees his shadow — which he almost certainly would have Tuesday. Instead, the Inner Circle decide on the forecast ahead of time and announce it on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill near the town for which the groundhog is named, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Records dating to 1887 show Phil has predicted more winter 102 times, while forecasting an early spring just 18 times. There are no records for the remaining years.

Tuesday's celebration was billed as the 130th forecast by Phil.

A number of other prognosticating groundhogs sided with Phil on the extended forecast.

The handlers for Staten Island Chuck in New York, General Beauregard Lee in Georgia and Jimmy the Groundhog in Wisconsin said the rodents predicted an early spring.

But, others didn't agree. In Michigan, handlers of Woody the Woodchuck said she predicted six more weeks of winter. The same went for Ohio's Buckeye Chuck.

And in Canada, two four-legged forecasters split the decision. Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam called for an early spring, while Ontario's Wiarton Willie expected six more weeks of winter.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Michigan groundhog's prediction: 6 more weeks of winter

MARION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Handlers of Woody the Woodchuck, billed as Michigan's official groundhog, say she's predicting six more weeks of winter.

They say that if she emerges from her house at the Howell Conference and Nature Center and stays out for 30 seconds or longer she is indicating an early spring; if she doesn't come out or runs back into her house before the 30 seconds are up, she is forecasting six more weeks of winter.

On Tuesday, which is Groundhog Day, she didn't come out of her house during an event at the nature center in Livingston County's Marion Township.

Last year, Woody was recovering from a respiratory infection and sat out the annual event as another Michigan groundhog made the not-so-scientific forecast for how long winter might last.

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Online:

http://www.howellnaturecenter.org

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



New Jersey groundhog dies day before annual prediction

WANTAGE, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey zoo's Groundhog Day had a pall cast over it after its groundhog died.

Parker Space told the New Jersey Herald (http://bit.ly/1X0UFom) that he discovered Stonewall IV had died when he went to clean him Monday ahead of Tuesday's planned annual photo op.

Space, a state assemblyman whose family owns Space Farms Zoo and Museum in Wantage Township, says the cause of Stonewall IV's death remains unclear. He was between 6 and 7 years old.

Stonewall IV hasn't always been in sync with the world's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. He disagreed with his weather predictions in each of the last four years.

The family farm has held Groundhog Day festivities for nearly 25 years. The tradition comes from a Pennsylvania German custom dating back to the 18th century.

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Information from: The New Jersey Herald (Newton, N.J.), http://www.njherald.com

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 


 

Jimmy the Groundhog predicts early spring

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (AP) — Jimmy the Groundhog's handlers say the celebrity rodent did not see his shadow in Sun Prairie. So, according to a German legend, spring will come early instead of another six more weeks of winter.

The latest groundhog to play Jimmy stayed in his cage this year as officials in top hats announced the prediction Tuesday morning. Handlers didn't want a repeat of last year when Jimmy got too close to the mayor and chomped on 'his honor's' ear — an image that was widely circulated on the internet.

Afterward, authorities told Jimmy's owners they needed a license to own a groundhog which prompted them to release Jimmy into the wild.

Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil also "predicted" an early spring.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 


 

PHOTO:   Shubenacadie Sam looked around after he emerged from his burrow today at the wildlife park in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam didn't see his shadow. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press via AP)

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