Early spring or more winter? Georgia groundhogs make their predictions

JACKSON, Ga. — Should you prepare for six more weeks of winter or get ready for an early spring? Both of Georgia’s groundhogs seem to agree on which one we’ll see.

Beauregard ‘Beau’ Lee didn’t see his shadow at the Dauset Trails for Groundhog’s Day Wednesday morning. Neither did Yonah the North Georgia Groundhog in Cleveland, Georgia.

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That means both are predicting an early spring for Georgia! Meanwhile, up north, the groundhogs disagree on what they will see. Staten Island Chuck also didn’t see his shadow, but Punxsutawney Phil did and predicted six more weeks of winter.

Beau was a celebrity groundhog for decades in Gwinnett County before he moved to Jackson in 2020. The current “Beau” is the “bachelor nephew” of the original Lee.

Yonah is new to the groundhog game. He made his first prediction of an early spring in 2020 at the North Georgia Wildlife Park. Last year, he predicted a longer winter.

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Here are some other things to know about Groundhog Day:

First celebration: The first Groundhog Day was celebrated at Gobbler’s Knob on Feb. 2, 1887. According to History.com, the idea came from Clymer Freas, a newspaper editor in Punxsutawney, who belonged to a group of groundhog hunters. His newspaper, The Punxsutawney Spirit, is credited with printing the news of the first observance in 1886, according to the website of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

Origins: The day was originally known as Candlemas Day, which was the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It was celebrated in Europe, with Germans adopting a hedgehog to determine whether the rest of the winter would be bitter or mild. German settlers who came to Pennsylvania in the 18th century continued the tradition, substituting a groundhog.

Other predictors: What other rodents predict the weather on Feb. 2? Birmingham Bill, who prognosticates from the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama; and Staten Island Chuck in the New York metropolitan area. Not to be outdone, Canada has its own rodent, Shubenacadie Sam, who emerges from his burrow in Nova Scotia.

Information from Cox Media Group national content desk contributed to this report.

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