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Weather woodchucks unanimous in early spring prediction

Sunday is Groundhog Day

HOWELL, Mich. – Punxatawny Phil and Woody the Woodchuck have made their predictions on Groundhog Day. No shadow -- meaning an early spring.

RELATED: Pennsylvania groundhog declares early spring ‘a certainty’

Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are members of the family Sciuridae -- the same group that features squirels, chipmunks and prairie dogs. The diets and habits of the Sciuridae family can make them a nuisance to farmers, but on Groundhog Day, they take the stage.

The holiday is observed in the United States and Canada and is derived from a Dutch superstition. The belief is that a groundhog emerging from its burrow would see its shadow and retreat to its den and winter will continue for six more weeks. If it does not see its shadow, spring will arrive early. In German-speaking areas, the badger is used as its furry forecaster.

RELATED: Metro Detroit weather: A cool Sunday evening after record-breaking warmth

Detroit experienced a few snow flurries Saturday and Sunday, there wasn’t any ice in the Detroit river and the thermometer has consistently been above 40 degrees. It’s pretty clear that winter isn’t going on right now, do we need a marmot meteorologist to confirm that?

Families gathered at the Howell Nature Center on Triangle Lake Road to see Woody the Woodchuck make her 21st prediction.

“It’s pretty much a holiday out here for us,” said Laura Butler, the Director of Wildlife and Education.

Butler said Woody the Woodchuck boasts a 75% accuracy rate.

Barricades are up in Downtown Detroit as the city gets ready for Winter Blast. The weekend will include activities, events, live music and more. Organizers are thrilled with the warmer weather because it means a larger crowd.

RELATED: 15th annual Winter Blast returns to Downtown Detroit next weekend


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