New York City’s favorite rodent predicted an early spring on Friday.
Staten Island Chuck woke from his slumber on a chilly Groundhog Day morning at the Staten Island Zoo and failed to see his shadow, meaning that we can get ready to say goodbye to winter. The furry meteorologist, who has a record of being correct roughly 80 percent of the time since he started making predictions back in 1981, inspired hope in a city that has already reckoned with a bitter cold snap and a record-breaking flu season this year.
When it comes to groundhog prognostications, a spring is considered to arrive early when the majority of the days between Groundhog Day and the vernal equinox have a high temperature above 40. While Chuck is optimistic about the rest of the season, his Pennsylvanian counterpart Punxsutawney Phil was singing a completely different tune. That cowardly varmint saw his shadow on Friday, claiming that an early spring would not in fact come. It’s worth noting that Phil, who has been making predictions for more than a century, is a terrible weather man—he’s right less than 40 percent of the time.
It hasn't always been all fun and games for Staten Island Chuck. In 2014, a newly-inaugurated Mayor Bill de Blasio attended the zoo’s Groundhog Day ceremony, and held the little fella for a few seconds before dropping him like a bad habit. Here's what that looked like:
The groundhog died a week later from internal injuries, but in a twist worthy of an Agatha Christie novel, it turned out that the deceased mammal was not in fact Chuck at all, but another female groundhog named Charlotte. The “real” Chuck is allegedly still alive, but has gone into retirement like Bruce Wayne at the beginning of The Dark Night Rises. De Blasio was not in attendance for this year’s ceremony, which may have been the real reason why the rodent did not flee back into its shelter.