Eye on the Hog

Sunshine and short sleeves or six more weeks of winter? Only the groundhog can tell.

According to Olivia Slagle, a spokesperson for Chimney Rock State Park, “there is no proof that groundhogs can accurately predict how long winter will last.” But that fact hasn’t stopped the park from hosting a Groundhog Day Celebration for 19 years and counting. This February, weather predictions will come from Tater and Yammy, a juvenile he-huck and she-huck with a taste for mischievousness (and carrots). If the marmots-turned-meteorologists see their shadows, buckle up for six more blustery weeks. If they don’t, short sleeves and sunshine are on the way. Since this will be Tater and Yammy’s first day on the job, there’s no telling if their predictions will be correct. However, if they’re anything like the prolific Pennsylvania whistlepig Punxsutawney Phil, we can expect an accuracy rate somewhere between 40 and 50 percent. For all the non-statisticians out there, that means you’d probably have better luck predicting winter’s end with a coin flip. Still, Slagle has faith. “We believe all wildlife is very intuitive and connected to weather and climate patterns,” she quips. 

The 19th Annual Groundhog Day Celebration happens Friday, Feb. 2, 10-11am at Chimney Rock State Park (431 Main St., Chimney Rock). Cost included in admission. The event will also be livestreamed on the park’s Facebook page. For more information, call 828-625-9611 or see chimneyrockpark.com

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