‘Well, it’s Groundhog Day… again’: Will Staten Island Chuck predict an early spring for New York City?

Groundhog Day Staten Island Chuck
Does Chuck feel chippy? Staten Island Chuck will make his big Groundhog Day prediction Thursday, Feb. 2.
Photo via Facebook/Staten Island Zoo

The big question on everyone’s possibly chapped lips tomorrow is this: Will Staten Island Chuck predict an early spring?

That’s right, woodchuck chuckers, it’s Groundhog Day!

New York City’s official prognosticating rodent will make his forecast for the rest of winter on Thursday morning, Feb. 2, after his human handlers pull him from his comfy abode at the Staten Island Zoo. What happens next depends upon centuries of odd American tradition — and what Chuck sees when he’s pulled into the light of day.

A North American tradition derived from Pennsylvania Dutch communities, Groundhog Day is when some of the most adorable meteorologists in town—groundhogs—tell us what kind of weather to expect in the coming weeks. How do they do this? It’s all based on their shadows!

According to tradition, if the groundhog sees his shadow upon waking up on Groundhog Day, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he doesn’t see it, spring will come early.

This year, many New Yorkers wonder if winter ever really came. Aside from two brutally cold days around Christmas, temperatures have been unseasonably mild, and this year marked the first time since records have been kept that New York City recorded zero measurable snowfall through Jan. 31. 

Forecasters are predicting a cold snap this weekend, but it’s hard to say whether that will impact Staten Island Chuck’s forecast Thursday morning. But through the years, Chuck’s prognostications have been quite accurate, according to the Staten Island Zoo; they’ve been right about 80% of the time in predictions dating back to 1981, the Staten Island Advance reported.

That’s much higher than the accuracy rate of Chuck’s more famous rival, Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania, who has been right about 39% of the time, and two Long Island groundhogs: Holtsville Hal (36%) and Malverne Mel (55%).

As always, the Staten Island Zoo will celebrate Chuck’s big day in style at 7 a.m. on Feb. 2. The big forecast will be livestreamed on the zoo’s Facebook page

The ceremony begins some 28 minutes before Punxsutawney Phil — the “seer of seers, and prognosticator of prognosticators,” as famously described in the classic Bill Murray comedy “Groundhog Day” — makes his forecast at Gobbler’s Knob, continuing a tradition that began in the late 1800s. 

For more information about the Punxsutawney ceremony, visit groundhog.org.