Across Nation, Groundhogs Make Predictions Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow Monday morning, predicting an extra six weeks of winter. The sun was shining in Pennsylvania, but not everywhere. Some lesser-known groundhogs also had their predictions about the arrival of spring.

Across Nation, Groundhogs Make Predictions

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


I'm Melissa Block, and we're looking at six more weeks of winter.

Mr. BILL COOPER (President, Punxsutawney Groundhog Club) : A bright sky above me showed my shadow beside me. So, six more weeks of winter it will be.

(Soundbite of booing)

Mr. COOPER: Oh, woe is us. Woe is us.

BLOCK: That's according to Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous groundhog, perhaps, in the world. Bill Cooper, the president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, translated Phil's prediction for the crowd, just this morning, in Pennsylvania.

SIEGEL: Yes, it's February 2nd, Groundhog Day. And if Phil says it, it must be so, right? Wrong.

(Soundbite of groundhog squeaking)

BLOCK: Now, Robert, I didn't know this, but groundhogs are also known as whistle pigs.

SIEGEL: Whistle pigs.

BLOCK: Whistle pigs. And many of the nation's less-publicized whistle pigs think Phil is really overrated. This is from the New York Daily News today, this headline: S.I. Chuck Scoffs at Punxsu-Phony Phil.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: That's Staten Island's groundhog, who saw no shadow today. He declared an early spring. So did Long Island's Malverne Mel.

BLOCK: And so did General Beauregard Lee. That's the woodchuck from Lilburn, Georgia.

Unidentified Group: Go Beau, go Beau, go Beau…

BLOCK: That's the crowd in Lilburn, cheering Beau out of his home. This video posted on YouTube today.

Unidentified Man #1: Come on, Beau.

Unidentified Man #2: Come on, Beau.

Unidentified Man #3: All right. No lights, there he is. Anybody see a shadow?

Unidentified Man #4: I don't think so.

Unidentified Man #3: Okay. 7:33, he did not see his shadow. We're going to have an early spring.

(Soundbite of cheering)

SIEGEL: This is getting ridiculous. How many squirrelly meteorologists are there?

BLOCK: Well, apparently, quite a lot. Outside Chicago, at the Brookfield Zoo, Tumbleweed Groundhog agreed with Phil - six more weeks of winter. In Canada, Shubenacadie Sam and Wiarton Willie, in Nova Scotia and Ontario, and Manitoba Merv all said more winter.

SIEGEL: What else would there be? It's Canada.

BLOCK: Robert, that's cold.

SIEGEL: Okay, but to get serious here for a minute, there was a bite of news at the ceremony with Staten Island Chuck's proclamation this morning. Here's what happened.

(Soundbite of trumpet)

Unidentified Man #5: Chuck, your girlfriend's out here. Come on, Chuckie.

BLOCK: It was overcast, and Chuck did not want to leave his house. As the crowd and emcee looked on, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried his hand at coaxing Chuck out with a cob of corn. After several tries, the mayor just grabbed the scrambling rodent and held him up for the audience, and Chuck - Robert, Chuck bit the mayor on his gloved hand.

SIEGEL: This is a truly independent-minded groundhog, like the mayor.

BLOCK: Clearly has a mind of his own. Now, a city spokesman says there's no risk of rabies, by the way. Staten Island Chuck was raised in captivity and apparently, there were no hard feelings - at least on the mayor's part. We don't know about Chuck.

The mayor went on to unfurl a banner that read in green and yellow letters: Spring is coming.

Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (New York City): Absolutely no shadow, whatsoever.

SIEGEL: The Staten Island Advance has video on its Web site. And we wish the mayor a happy Groundhog Day, and to you, as well.

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