UNDATED — Weather-forecasting rodents in Ohio and Pennsylvania have offered up competing predictions about when winter will end this year.
In Marion, Ohio’s official weather prognosticating rodent Buckeye Chuck is predicting an early spring. Meanwhile, the more famous Punxsutawney Phil, based in the hills of western Pennsylvania, predicts six more weeks of winter.
Buckeye Chuck announced his forecast to his handlers at 7:40 a.m. on Groundhog Day from his burrow on the campus of radio station WMRN-AM in Marion. Chuck’s handlers stated that he did not see his shadow, which in groundhog lore means that an early spring is in store.
From his den on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Phil’s Inner Circle noted that he did indeed see his shadow, which means winter will drag on for six more weeks. According to Phil’s handlers, it marked the 106th time in 135 years of forecasting that the pudgy whistlepig has predicted six more weeks of winter.
Both events were conducted virtually this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In a normal year, thousands of people descend on Punxsutawney to catch a glimpse of Phil making his prediction and the pomp and circumstance that accompanies it.
Buckeye Chuck was designated Ohio’s official groundhog forecaster by an act of the General Assembly in 1979. His forecast event usually attracts crowds numbering in the hundreds. Organizers usually serve up Spam sandwiches and coffee and hot cocoa to folks in attendance.