Georgia's groundhog predicts early spring

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LILBURN, Ga. — The South’s iconic groundhog, Gen. Beauregard Lee, waddled out of his “Weathering Heights” mansion Thursday and failed to see his shadow on the Georgia red dirt.

The development bodes well for warm weather: No shadow means an early spring, hundreds of spectators were told as the prediction was made around 7:30 a.m. outside Atlanta.

The groundhog emerged moments after a crowd cheered, “Go Beau, Go Beau, Go Beau!”

Beau’s caretakers at the Yellow River Game Ranch in Lilburn say he has a 94 percent accuracy rating, giving him a better record than Punxsutawney Phil, his Pennsylvania counterpart.

The ranch says that every year on Feb. 2, the Georgia groundhog wakes up to the ringing of an antique bell to forecast the spring weather.

Beau is about 17. The ranch is hoping to name a successor before next year, Yellow River’s Codi Reeves said.

PHIL IN MINORITY WITH PREDICTION

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil told people to prepare for six more weeks of winter Thursday, making him the minority opinion among his groundhog brethren who seem to think that spring is coming early.

Phil’s “prediction” came as he emerged from his lair to “see” his shadow on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill in the town for which he’s named about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Yet groundhogs in at least five other states – West Virginia’s French Creek Freddie, Georgia’s Gen. Beauregard Lee, Michigan’s Woody the Woodchuck, Ohio’s Buckeye Chuck and New York’s Staten Island Chuck (full name: Charles G. Hogg) – did not see their shadows. Nor did Ontario’s Wiarton Willie or Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam.

– Associated Press


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