Holtsville Hal, Malverne Mel Disagree on Groundhog Day Forecast

Groundhog Day 2023
Greg Drossel, Holtsville Hal’s handler for two decades, held Holtsville Hal up for all to see in 2018. (Photo by Christa Ganz).

For the second Groundhog Day in a row, Long Island’s two weather-forecasting rodents disagreed over whether spring-like conditions will come early in 2018 or the current cold winter blast will persist.

Holtsville Hal did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring, according to folk lore. Malverne Mel, however, did see his shadow, suggesting six more weeks of wintery weather.

“Folks, early spring for one and all!” Dan Losquadro, Brookhaven town’s superintendent of highways, said while reading the prognostication on stage to the cheering crowd Friday morning at the Holtsville Ecology Center.

Last year, Hal and Mel both made opposite predictions, although the five years before that they were in agreement. Mel’s forecast is in line with the nation’s foremost groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, who also saw his shadow.

But the tri-state area’s other groundhogs all predicted an early spring. Those that didn’t see their shadows include Staten Island Chuck, New Jersey’s Milltown Mel, Connecticut’s Chuckles, and upstate New York’s Dunkirk Dave.

Losquadro joked that his highway budget will be safe from additional snow storms now that spring is on it’s way. Phil’s handlers issued a more ominous warning:

“Here is my forecast, not lead, but solid gold,” they said. “I see my royal Shadow! Six more weeks of Winter to go!”

Regardless of what the woodchucks say, the spring equinox is six weeks away: March 20.

—With Timothy Bolger