In a foreboding turn of events, the 15th annual Groundhog Day festivities have been canceled in the Village of Malverne after officials say the star of the show, Malverne Mel, will be forced to stay inside his borrow due to a snow storm.
Nassau County residents will now have to rely on Holtsville Hal in neighboring Suffolk County to get a Long Island groundhog’s prediction on whether there will be another six weeks of winter or if spring will stop the onslaught of nonstop snow storms. To the west, Staten Island Chuck will make the call for New York City while the nation will turn to the OG—original groundhog—Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania.
The 125-year-old tradition of seeking weather prognostications from a furry, burrow-dwelling marmot has taken on new meaning since the Island saw record-breaking snowfall for the month of January and the ninth winter storm since Dec. 14 is coating LI in a wintry mix Tuesday into Wednesday.
“It’s tough to know when it will turn off,” Bill Simpson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told The Associated Press.
Holtsville Hal is expected to pop his head of his hole to look for his shadow at 7:25 a.m. at the Town of Brookhaven Ecology Site, Park & Animal Preserve on Buckley Road in Holtsville. Chuck, who lives at the Staten Island Zoo, will make his call at 7:30 a.m., around the same time as Punxy Phil.
Although the outdoor event is cancelled, Mel will reportedly make an appearance at Malverne Village Hall at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
If the groundhog sees its shadow, it will be a long winter, according to folklore. If it does not see its shadow, spring will be here in two shakes of a groundhog’s tail.