By Henry Gargan
February 2, 2017
Winter is ending in two weeks, at least if you believe what a Raleigh groundhog reportedly said.
Sir Walter Wally, North Carolina’s premier groundhog prognosticator, made his prediction Thursday from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in front of a crowd eager to hear the critter’s news.
As clouds rolled over the crowd, covering the sun, and therefore Wally’s shadow, the groundhog whispered his prediction to Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, who announced the verdict to the crowd. The crowd cheered.
“I’m fluent in groundhog now. We chatted a little bit,” said McFarlane, who noted she was advised by former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker to “learn to speak goundhog” after taking office.
In Garner, another groundhog’s prediction of six more weeks of winter is at odds with Wally’s but in line with those of well-known groundhogs around the country, including the famed Punxsutawney Phil. Snerd, the Garner groundhog, revealed his prediction to Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams, also at noon at White Deer Park.
According to a tradition developed in Pennsylvania, winter will come to an early end if a groundhog emerges from its burrow and fails to see its shadow on Feb. 2, the precise midpoint of astronomical winter. If the shadow is spotted, the surrounding area is in for another six weeks of winter.
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