Both of Long Island’s groundhogs saw their shadows, predicting six more weeks of winter Monday—but even more inauspiciously, Brookhaven town officials cancelled their official Groundhog Day event due to the winter storm.
The prognostication from Malverne Mel and Holtsville Hal was a departure from last year when they both didn’t see their shadows, effectively forecasting an early spring. This Groundhog Day, Malverne Mal was the first out of the gate, so to speak, to prognosticate, while Hal’s handlers said plowing the roads trumped the furry friend’s long-term forecasting festivities at the Brookhaven Wildlife and Ecology Center, where the rodent call his hole his home. In the end, however, Hal’s appearance concurred with his fellow species celebrity on Long Island.
“Unfortunately, Hal did see his shadow and is reporting there will be six more weeks of winter,” said Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro, whose workers were on hand to record the observation. “While this is certainly not the prediction we were hoping for, the Brookhaven Highway Department will be out in force continuing our tireless efforts to address whatever Mother Nature brings our way this winter.”
This year, Mel and Hal agreed with the nation’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. Staten Island Chuck in New York City didn’t see his shadow, predicting an early spring. Hal and Mel both saw their shadows two years ago.
Both the National Weather Service and the Old Farmer’s Almanac previously forecasted above-average snowfall this winter, but—besides some days of flurries—few flakes had fallen until the first blizzard of 2015 hit last week, dumping 30 inches of snow on the North Fork.
NWS forecasters said a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain falling on LI Monday was expected to freeze after sundown, making for icy roadways during the Monday evening rush hour commute.
—With Spencer Rumsey