Groundhog Day 2012 Early Spring? More Winter?

 Groundhog Day 2012

Groundhog Day 2012.  Is it going to be an early spring? Or more winter? And the answer is… both?!

Well it is that time of year again when we put our faith in a meteorologically talented rodent.

Groundhog Day has become a tradition for many towns throughout the country for decades although Punxsutawney, PA is always the town most associated with the event. The town gathers around a place and the woodchuck lets us know if we will have an early spring or 6 more weeks of winter. According to Punxsutawney’s groundhog, it will be the latter.

The tradition has its origins from the Dutch settlers in southeastern and central Pennsylvania during the 18th and 19th centuries. Ancient European lore has a badger or sacred bear as a prognosticator, according to

Groundhog Day Punxsutawney Phil

Groundhog Day Punxsutawney Phil

While Punxsutawney Phil is the most famous of the woodchucks, there are competitors. LA Times reports that Bob Will, who cares for Dunkirk Dave — a groundhog in upstate New York — along with many other sick and wounded marmots that he nurses back to health, calls the rivalry among groundhogs “a friendly competition.” But he also pointed out that while Phil, the most famous of the woodchucks, is actually pulled from his hole and paraded in front of a crowd, Dunkirk Dave is allowed to slowly emerge on his own from a hibernation spot under the ground in Will’s yard.

New York City has a version with “Staten Island Chuck” and according to zookeeper Doug Schwartz, whether or not Chuck sees his shadow has a lot to do with his mood. If he is unhappy, he will see his shadow.

Time shares us his account of a Groundhog Day:

The crowd gathers around 7 a.m. and Chuck makes the prediction at 7:30. We had 800 people last year because it was a Sunday. This year falls on a Monday so it’ll be a little quieter, we’ll have maybe 400 or 500. He’s in a display house and we just open the door and he comes out and sees his shadow, or not. The mayor will come and announce his prediction and then it’s over. Usually limos show up and right away we’re whisked away to ABC or The Today Show. So we’re there and it happens and then off we go.

It is amusing seeing a picture of Mayor Bloomberg holding up a rodent, I must say.

New York’s Chuck, as it turned out, must have been happier than Punxsutawney Phil because Chuck predicted an early spring. I suppose woodchuck forecasts aren’t exactly a science. Regardless, the tradition continues with Groundhog Day 2012!


Punxsutawney Phil Sees His Shadow Groundhog Day 2012

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