Woodchucks: 6 more weeks of winter, suckers
Local legend Woody the Woodchuck agreed Friday morning with his more famous rodent cousin Punxsutawney Phil: We’re in for six more weeks of winter.
Woody, a Livingston County woodchuck (aka groundhog, aka whistlepig) residing at the Howell Nature Center, saw her shadow and predicted more winter Thursday morning at an annual Groundhog Day celebration.
“I think her prediction is going to be pretty accurate,” said Dana Debnham, wildlife director of the Howell Nature Center.
Woody’s prediction comes on the heels of the winter forecast Phil made an hour or so earlier more than 350 miles away.
Phil lives in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, which is about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog also foresees no early end to winter.
Legend has it if the furry rodent casts a shadow on Feb. 2, Groundhog Day, expect six more weeks of winter-like weather.
Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside of Punxsutawney.
Spectators bundled up and bopped to music amid the camp and kitsch with the temperature around 11 degrees.
Records dating to 1887 show Phil predicting more winter 103 times while forecasting an early spring just 18 times. No records exist for the remaining years. Weather forecaster Stormfax says Phil’s predictions have proven correct 39 percent of the time.
DeBenham pointed out that Woody has been right 15 out of 19 years. Her success rate translates to a success rate of nearly 79 percent.
The Associated Press contributed.