MARION — The groundhogs have spoken. Put away those winter coats.
Local prognosticating legend Buckeye Chuck did not see his shadow, which means we are in for an early spring in 2020. On a chilly Sunday morning, Marion County’s famous fuzzy forecaster predicts that winter will soon end.
Since Buckeye Chuck began forecasting the weather in 1979, large crowds have gathered at local radio station WMRN to either celebrate the prospect of an early spring or bemoan the groundhog’s call for an extended winter.
The annual event has its origin in a German legend that says if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Feb. 2, winter continues. If not, spring comes early.
The other famous whistlepig, Punxsutawney Phil, emerged Sunday with the same result.
Punxsutawney Phil was pulled from his burrow in Gobbler’s Knob Sunday morning and did not see see his shadow, which, according to legend, means an early spring and warmer temperatures are coming.
Of course, even the organizers of the annual Groundhog Day event in western Pennsylvania acknowledge that turning to a large rodent for weather forecasting is mostly a way to break up winter monotony.
Buckeye Chuck also predicted an early spring in 2019, and that forecast was accurate. According to the National Weather Service, the average daily high temperature last February was 39 degrees and the daily low averaged 24 degrees. Average daily precipitation for February 2019 measured 0.12 inches.
His accuracy rate is 75 percent.