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Groundhog Day 2018: Punxsutawney Phil Predicts More Winter, Staten Island Chuck Says Spring is Near
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2 Feb 2018 02:52 PM EST

-by Anthony Bell, Contributing Writer; Image: The home of Staten Island Chuck (Image Source: Dragon 280 via Wikimedia Commons)

Groundhog Day 2018 has two famous groundhogs at odds with each other, with Punxsutawney Phil predicting that we will see six more weeks of winter and the local Staten Island Chuck saying an early spring is on the way.

While the nation generally follows the 132-year-old tradition held yearly at Gobbler's Knob in Pennsylvania featuring the star groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, New Yorkers tend to turn our eyes to Staten Island, where Chuck is our go-to for getting our hopes up about warmer weather. In either tradition, the groundhogs are awoken from their hibernation February 2. According to the legend, if the groundhog sees its shadow, six more weeks of winter are allegedly ahead, but If it doesn't, spring will reportedly come soon.

CBS notes that Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Records dating back to 1887 note that Phil predicting a long winter 102 times and an early spring 18 times.

Here in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio did not follow mayoral tradition and skipped the event in Staten Island this year, most likely due to famously dropping the groundhog in 2014. Though the groundhog later died, the Staten Island Zoo notes it was unlikely that it was caused by the drop. De Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips noted that the mayor has not attended in recent years and has other events to attend. Chuck has made his annual prediction over 30 years.

While Phil and Chuck are the local go-to groundhogs, Phil being the most well-known, over a dozen states hold their own Groundhog Day celebration with their respective mascots—like General Beauregard Lee in Georgia and Buckeye Chuck in Ohio. Locally, Long Island's Malverne Mel predicted six more weeks of winter, and Holtsville Hal predicted early spring. New Jersey's Milltown Mel also predicted an early spring, according to USA Today. Milltown Mel is a newcomer to the game, with the state holding the tradition for just 10 years.

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