Staten Island Chuck Predicts Early Spring

Punxsutawney Phil had a contrasting prediction and foresees a longer stretch of winter

What to Know

  • Mayor de Blasio skipped the event for the second straight year; he dropped the groundhog in 2014 and it died a week later
  • The mayor went to the big reveal in 2015 but didn't touch the animal
  • The Staten Island Zoo says Chuck has an 80 percent accuracy rate; the NYC animal agreed with Punxsutawney Phil last year

In a significant departure from the forecast offered by the country's preeminent groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, Staten Island Chuck has called for an early spring. 

A crowd of children and adults gathered at the Staten Island Zoo Thursday morning as they anxiously awaited to hear from Chuck whether winter would stick around or spring would soon be in the air. Kids pressed their faces against the glass as they tried to catch a glimpse of the groundhog.

Cheers erupted as Chuck -- taking the moment in stride -- emerged with no symbolic shadow in sight. 

He wasn't the only one who foresees an early spring -- Public Advocate Letitia James, who was present for the reveal, predicted the same.

Pennsylvania's famous Punxsutawney Phil says otherwise. Phil's handlers say the furry rodent predicted six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow. Last year, Chuck and Phil both predicted an early spring.

According to the Staten Island Zoo, Chuck has an 80 percent accuracy rate. 

The mayor traditionally attends the festivities at the Staten Island Zoo and reveals whether of not Chuck sees his shadow. Mayor de Blasio wasn't present for Thursday's ceremony.

De Blasio dropped the groundhog in 2014, the first year he attended the ceremony after taking office. The rodent died a week after the fall.

This is the second year in a row that de Blasio has skipped out on the event. His last apperance was in 2015, when he watched the reveal but did not touch the groundhog.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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