Woody the Woodchuck chooses to self-isolate; 6 more weeks of Michigan winter

The Detroit News

In what might be the least surprising pronouncement given the weather of late, Howell's own Woody the Woodchuck emerged from her burrow Tuesday, assessed the conditions of the outside world and went back inside. 

She's just like the rest of us during these pandemic times. 

Woody the Woodchuck emerged at 8 a.m., felt the 11-degree weather and decided to go back inside.

The Howell Nature Center has hosted the annual tradition for the last 22 years, and Woody has been accurate about 76% of the time, said CEO John "JC" Carlson. 

"2020 was a rough year but thanks to our community it has remained on mission," said Carlson in the Facebook livestream. "Just because there's a pandemic doesn't mean the world has to stop."

The livestream served as an alternative to an in-person event. It was around 11 degrees outside when Woody decided to self-isolate inside on Groundhog Day.

But the groundhog's appearance was about more than weather prediction. She's working toward a new habitat. With four days to go, there's still a few hundred dollars of the $2,500 goal left to raise for the nature center. 

Woody's prediction of six more weeks of winter aligns with the opinion of the admittedly more famous Punxsutawney Phil who emerged from his den at 7:25 a.m. in Gobbler's Knob to plenty of snow and dreary skies. 

Shortly after this year’s prediction was revealed, one of the members of Phil's inner circle shared a message he said Phil had told him earlier in the day: “After winter, you’re looking forward to one of the most beautiful and brightest springs you’ve ever seen.”

Another member of the “inner circle” noted the uniqueness of the past year.

“People have been referencing Groundhog Day. It has felt like at times we’re all living the same day over and over again,” one of the members said. “Groundhog Day also shows us that the monotony ends. The cycle will be broken.”

Associated Press contributed.