Rodents predicting weather trends. Why?
Just as fair a Groundhog Day question, though, is this: Why not? And more importantly, why should Punxsutawney Phil always get to, well, hog the press?
The spring-heralding (or spring-delaying) small animal has taken firm root in some swaths of American culture. And while Phil and his Pennsylvania ilk are the most celebrated, there is an astonishingly broad selection of other critters who have felt the need (or, at least, their handlers have) to put reputations on the line to “predict” meteorology in the dead of winter. Here we offer just a few.
Before we take a look, pause for a moment to remember one particular groundhog of yore—Charlotte, a stand-in for Staten Island Chuck in 2014. She predicted six more weeks before being famously dropped by then-New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and dying a week later.
Do take aboard a disclaimer, though. This is merely a smattering of groundhoggery, offered up in no particular order. Please don’t be offended if your animal isn’t included. Maybe next year.
JIMMY THE GROUNDHOG, Wisconsin:
Caused controversy in 2015 after biting the mayor of Sun Prairie on the ear.
MILLTOWN MEL, New Jersey:
Event got caught up in problems with state law this year after the previous prognosticator expired.
WOODY THE WOODCHUCK, Michigan:
Emerged from a tiny green door in a small, human-made tree stump on Thursday.
WOODSTOCK WILLIE, Illinois.
Saw his shadow Thursday.
Site of where the best-ever PR around the day—the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day”—was filmed.
OCTORARO ORPHIE, Pennsylvania:
Predicts from a home base in Quarryville in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Because of Pennsylvania Dutch folklore, that region has several on the job—including Mount Joy Minnie and Dover Doug.
STATEN ISLAND CHUCK, New York:
Longtime predictor in the New York City borough.
This year, the current mayor didn’t attend.
BUCKEYE CHUCK, Ohio:
Another Chuck, this one further inland.
This year, the Chuck used publicly was a stuffed one after an animal-rights group objected to how a live one had been treated.
GEN. BEAUREGARD LEE, Georgia:
Claims high accuracy rate. Contradicted Phil this year.
BY ANNA LIZ NICHOLS, MICHIGAN ADVANCE MICHIGAN—Two months after a federal judge panel ordered Michigan’s redistricting commission to redraw seven...
BY ANNA LIZ NICHOLS, MICHIGAN ADVANCE MICHIGAN—Earlier this month, reproductive rights groups joined together for a lawsuit looking to throw out...
A decision by the Alabama Supreme Court is raising concerns about the future of fertility care. But four US representatives from Michigan are...
We're highlighting the innovative women at Midwest CannaNurses, who are driving change in the perception of cannabis in communities of color through...
Severe thunderstorms with large hail and several possible rare winter tornadoes toppled trees, cut power and damaged homes in the Chicago area and...