Weather outlook: N.C. groundhogs, hogs differRALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — There were conflicting forecasts Monday from the four-legged sources consulted about whether North Carolina’s winter weather will continue for another six weeks.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — There were conflicting forecasts Monday from the four-legged sources consulted about whether North Carolina’s winter weather will continue for another six weeks.
At the state Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, guest groundhog Sir Walter Wally predicted a longer winter. The same chilly forecasts came through groundhogs consulted in Asheville and Greensboro.
But there was one furry optimist in the bunch: Lil’ Bit, the potbellied pig in Lexington whose snorts during the town’s “Groundhawg Day” were taken to mean an early spring.
Woody, the groundhog at the Animal Discovery Zoological Park at the Natural Science Center in Greensboro, and Gray, the groundhog at Chimney Rock Park near Asheville, signaled their verdict Monday morning: Keep your coats on.
By the time Sir Walter Wally entered the spotlight at midday in Raleigh, the North Carolina tide was trending groundhogs 2, groundhawg 1. The capital city’s underground oracle was held up to the ear of Mayor Charles Meeker, who interpreted a prediction for a longer winter.
A German superstition says that if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, spring will come early. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club in Pennsylvania gave it an American twist in 1887, when the club made consulting its rodent seer, Phil, into an annual rite. On Monday, he also predicted six more winter weeks.
But the North Carolina natural sciences museum tried using its Groundhog Day celebration as a learning opportunity for school children around the state participating online.
The museum partnered with the State Climate Office to teach about folk customs for forecasting weather, and about the science of recording and tracking weather patterns.
Some of the lessons included learning that the direction cows stand while grazing, the elevation of migrating geese, the frequency of crickets’ chirps, and the coloring on woolly worms all have been used to forecast weather.
But the fifth annual Lexington event was an unabashed promotional event for the city and to build its reputation for great barbecue, Mayor John Walser said.
Merchants planned sales tied to the event and high school cheerleaders egged on the pig’s prediction. Lil’ Bit’s entrance came heralded by a Lexington Senior High School marching band trombonist.