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Groundhog Nation deeply divided on when spring will arrive

The nation is divided. And we are not talking about politics.

Groundhog Nation appears deeply divided on what is probably its most important day of the year.

We've got six more weeks of winter coming, if you believe Balzac Billy, Jimmy the Groundhog or Woodstock Willie.

Spring will arrive sooner, according to Dover Doug, Gen. Beauregard Lee and Chattanooga Chuck.

An unofficial count of groundhog prognostications across the continent on Thursday showed at least 11 who called for an early spring, while at least nine think six more weeks of winter are on their way.

Dunkirk Dave, a Western New York favorite, and the nationally renowned Punxsutawney Phil agree: winter will stick around a bit longer. That's because the prognosticating Pennsylvania groundhog and his distant Chautauqua County cousin both gazed upon their own shadows Thursday morning. In the Groundhog Day tradition, Punxsutawney Phil performed his annual task of weather forecasting in Punxsutawney, Pa. When the groundhog sees his shadow, that means six more weeks of winter.

Aside from Dunkirk Dave, we also have Ridge Lea Larry, a taxidermied groundhog at the University at Buffalo's geology department who has been making appearances at the department's Groundhog Day cookouts since 1983. He has not yet chimed in.

Here's what other groundhogs are predicting:

  • Staten Island Chuck predicted an early spring, according to CBS New York
  • Holtsville Hal on Long Island - six more weeks of winter
  • Malverne Mel on Long Island - early spring
  • Wiarton Willie in Ontario - early spring
  • General Beauregard Lee in Stone Mountain, Ga. - early spring

  • Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia - early spring

  • Woodstock Willie in Illinois - six more weeks of winter
  • Buckeye Chuck in Marion, Ohio - six more weeks of winter
  • Dover Doug in Pennsylvania - early spring
  • Chattanooga Chuck - early spring

  • Mount Joy Minnie in Lancaster County, Pa. - early spring
  • Jimmy the Groundhog in Sun Prarie, Wisc. - six more weeks of winter
  • French Creek Freddie in West Virginia - six more weeks of winter
  • Balzac Billy in Alberta - six more weeks of winter
  • Sir Walter Wally in Raleigh - early spring
  • Pierre C. Shadeaux in New Iberia, La. - early spring
  • Oil Springs Ollie in Sarnia, Ont. - six more weeks of winter
  • Chesapeake Chuck in Newport News, Va. - early spring

Still awaiting word from some others:

  • T-boy the nutria (New Orleans)
  • Stormy Marmot (Colorado)
  • Manitoba Merv (Winnipeg)

In Charlotte, officials canceled their Groundhog Day event this year after Queen Charlotte refused to emerge last year.

In another spot in North Carolina, there will be no Groundhog Day after Nibbles and Grady the Groundhog both died.

According to the Weather Channel, Punxsutawney Phil's prediction has only been correct 39 percent of the time over the last 129 years.

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