Groundhog Day Results: Expect an Early Spring This Year

Staten Island Chuck and Punxsutawny Phil are in agreement: Expect an early spring this year. 

Both of the furry rodents did not see a shadow when they were pulled out of their holes and made their winter prognostications. A German legend has it that if a groundhog sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last an additional six weeks. If not, spring comes early.

That being said, an early spring may not be so different from a prolonged winter this year. The second-largest winter snowstorm in NYC history aside, this winter has been very mild thanks to the climate cycle El Nino. 

Mayor de Blasio missed Chuck's prediction Tuesday morning. The mayor, a Democrat, has been campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Iowa. 

Traditionally, the city's mayor attends the festivities at the Staten Island Zoo and reveals whether or not Chuck sees his shadow.

De Blasio dropped the groundhog in 2014, the first year he attended the ceremony while mayor. The groundhog died a few months later.

The mayor joked last week that the "groundhogs' union" would be happy that he won't be attending the event. 

De Blasio attended last year but did not touch the groundhog. His predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, missed the ceremony five of his 12 years in office. He was bitten by Chuck in 2009. 

In Pennslyvania, members of Punxsutawney Phil's top hat-wearing inner circle revealed their forecast at sunrise, just before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

In reality, Phil's "prediction" is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler's Knob. The tiny hill is located just outside the town of Punxsutawney, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Records going back to 1887 have Phil forecasting more winter 102 times while forecasting an early spring just 17 times. There are no records for the remaining years.

Phil and Chuck had contrasting predictions last year. Chuck predicted that there would be an early spring, while Phil foresaw six more weeks of winter.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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