Each year, we all wait with eager anticipation the weather prognostication of Punxsutawney Phil on Feb. 2 to know whether or not we're in for a longer winter. This year, Phil didn't see his shadow and thus declared an early spring was on the horizon for us all. Time to break out the flip-flops and the allergy meds!
Phil isn't the only marmot that we consult to see when our winter weather will end, however. A number of other cities in North America have their own groundhogs that also predict the weather, and they don't always agree with Phil.
Staten Island Chuck, a resident of the Staten Island Zoo in New York City, predicted an early spring. The zoo says Chuck has an 80 percent accuracy rate ... when he isn't being dropped by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Another Chuck, this one named Buckeye Chuck of Marion, Ohio, saw his shadow, which means a longer winter for us all. Drats.
Also in the Midwest, Michigan's Woody the Woodchuck did not leave her hovel at the Howell Conference and Nature Center, and thus she's in agreement with Buckeye Chuck about our impending weather woes.
Not to be outdone, the Southeast has its own weather-predicting varmints. Chattanooga Chuck, who spends his time at the Tennessee Aquarium, and General Beauregard Lee, who lives at Yellow River Game Ranch near Stone Mountain, Georgia, both predicted an early spring in 2016.
Canada has a few climate-inclined clairvoyants as well. Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam didn't see his shadow at a Halifax park, so it's springtime all around ... except that Ontario's Wiarton Willie saw his shadow, and that means six more weeks of winter. At press time, Alberta's Balzac Billy had not yet made his prediction.
So what's the tally? It's five groundhogs for spring and three for a longer winter. Seems like we're destined for a nice spring — if you put your faith in marmots.