Dueling groundhog debacle opens up Southeast weather schism

Dueling groundhog debacle opens up Southeast weather schism

February 2nd, 2015 by Staff Report in Local Regional News

Chattanooga Chuck

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Though Chattanooga sits nearly on the border between Tennessee and Georgia, Chattanooga Chuck — the Scenic City's weather-aware groundhog — provided a Spring forecast sharply at odds with Georgia's own Gen. Beauregard Lee. 

Combining rhyming couplets with backwoods folklore, the Tennessee Aquarium's Groundhog Day forecast today called for six more weeks of winter, while Lee emerged from his "Weathering Heights" lair at Gwinnett County's Yellow River Game Ranch to predict an early spring. 

"Beau predicts an early spring in the Sunny South," the game ranch posted on Twitter.

But that forecast apparently excludes Chattanooga, if Chattanooga Chuck is to be believed. 

Chuck, the Aquarium's resident weather prognosticator, allegedly checked with the tree frogs, the butterfly swarm, the sharks, electric eels and sea urchins before making his prediction, according to a news release. 

Those animals are all said to demonstrate telltale signs when the weather changes. Tree frogs get louder, butterflies become more lively and sharks change their swimming depth, for instance. 

But in the end, the only measure that matters is whether Chuck the groundhog sees his own shadow, and that's just what happened this year, according to the 20-line poem released to the public by spokesman Thom Benson. 

"So zip up your coat before hitting the streets," Chuck the groundhog is reported to have said. "Winter's sticking around for at least six more weeks."

Chuck's forecast lined up with the most famous of weather-predicting groundhogs, Punxsutawney Phil, who spotted his shadow on Gobbler's Knob northeast of Pittsburgh. That means, according to a German legend, that winter will indeed last another six weeks. 

The Associated Press contributed to this article. 


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