Salisbury, MD. Fourteen out of twenty-five Groundhogs recommend an early spring.
That's certainly not the formidable stuff of which commercials are made but, nonetheless, it's where the numbers come down. The Gardening Grannies researched the predictions of some twenty-five whistle pigs and found a seriously split decision as to whether or not we will have an early spring. Precisely put, ten marmots saw their shadows and predicted six more weeks of winter, 14 did not see their shadows and predicted an early spring and one, "Woodstock Willie" from Woodstock, Illinois, canceled out due to a snowstorm and did not go on record this year.
In case you didn't know there were that many furry prognosticators out there, let us assure you that this is only the tip of the iceberg of these many-talented rodents. Predictors of an early spring in 2011 include:
1) "Tumbleweed" from Brookfield, Il
2) "Gus" from Athens, GA
3) "Grady the Groundhog" from Chimney Rock, NC
4) "Chuckles" from Manchester, CT
5) "Susquehanna Sherman" from Mt. Wolf, PA
6) "Malverne Mel" from Malverne, NY
7) "Wiarton Willie" from Wiarton, Ontario
8) "Shubenacadie Sam" from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia
9) "Jimmy the Groundhog" from Sun Prairie, WI
10) "Staten Island Chuck" from Staten Island, NYC
11) "Buckeye Chuck" from Marion, OH
12) "Dunkirk Dave" from Dunkirk, NY
13) "General Beauregard Lee" from Lilburn, GA
14) "Punxsutawney Phil" from Punxsutawney, PA
Predictors of six more weeks of winter include:
1) "Octoraro Orphie" from Quarryville, PA
2) "Balzac Billy" from Balzac, Alberta
3) "Woody the Woodchuck" from Howell, MI
4) "Sir Walter Wally" from Raleigh, NC
5) "Poor Richard" from York, PA
6) "Dover Doug" from Dover, PA
7) "Holtsville Hal" from Holtsville, NY
8) "Uni" from Myerstown, PA
9) "Stormy Marmot" from Aurora, CO
10) "Mountain Maryland Murray" from Cumberland, MD
Maybe it's science. Maybe it's some sort of marmot magic. Maybe it's just plain annoying to a sleepy (and generally foul-tempered) groundhog. However you view it, an amazing number of folks turn out for fellowship and fun as they wait to hear the prediction. The largest Groundhog Day celebration we could locate is the one held in Punxsutawney, PA, where crowds as large as 40,000 gather to celebrate the event. "Punxsutawney Phil" came down on the side of an early spring this year.
Groundhog Day supporters claim 80 to 90% accuracy while the national Climatic Data Center reportedly says it's about half that. Who ya gonna believe?
Gardening Grannies are a group of avid and Master Gardeners who live, love and garden on the Delmarva Peninsula. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org