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Michigan’s Official Groundhog ‘Woody’ Predicts An Early Spring

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Woody the Groundhog. (Courtesy: howellnaturecenter.org)

Woody the Groundhog. (Courtesy: howellnaturecenter.org)

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HOWELL (WWJ) - Woody, Michigan’s Official Groundhog, did not see her shadow Saturday morning, predicting the early arrival of spring.

Woody made her prediction at 8:15 a.m. at the Howell Nature Center in Livingston County.

Groundhog Day has its origins as an ancient celebration of the mid-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Legend has it that if Woody sees her shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last six more weeks. No shadow means an early spring.

“Woody came out of her stump, went back in her stump and then came back out again, which tells us that we will have an early spring here in Michigan,” said Dick Grant, executive director of the nature center, who added that it was Woody’s fifteenth prediction.

While Woody is famous in Michigan for her prognosticating abilities, she’s not as well-known as Punxsutawney Phil, the “original” forecasting rodent. This year, Phil also didn’t see his shadow, so it seems spring might actually arrive early.

Woody and Phil aren’t the only groundhogs that predict the weather, either. There’s Staten Island Chuck, in New York; General Beauregard Lee, in Atlanta; and Wiarton Willie, in Wiarton, Ontario, among others noted by the National Climactic Data Center “Groundhog Day” website.

In 2012, Woody didn’t see her shadow. The year before, she saw her shadow. Grant said Woody’s track record is pretty good — being right 10 out of 14 times so far.

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