Holtsville Hal, Malverne Mel Disagree on Groundhog Day Prediction

Groundhog Day
Malverne Mal with his handler Bruce Berger at Crossroad’s Farm at Grossmans in Melville on Groundhog Day, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. (Photo by Joe Abate)

Long Island’s two best-known weather prognosticating groundhogs, Holtsville Hal and Malverne Mel, disagreed on Groundhog Day whether there will be an early spring or six more weeks of winter.

Hal did not see is shadow, which means spring weather arrives early, according to lore, but Mel did see his shadow, suggesting more wintry weather to come. It marks the first time since 2018 that the two local groundhogs disagreed.

“When I stepped out of my burrow there was no sign of my shadow,” said Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro while reading Hal’s poetic prediction Wednesday. “And so my friends a beautiful spring we are due, I am happy to report that nothing more can be true.”

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

Mel’s forecast was in line with that of the nation’s top groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, who saw his shadow, which was unwelcome news for a region that saw two feet of snow less than a week ago.

“Upon looking for his shadow it could surely be seen,” Malverne Mayor Keith M. Corbett said while sharing the winter forecast after speaking to the groundhog.

As for LI’s other two groundhogs, Quogue Quigley took this year off due to the pandemic and it’s unclear if Great Neck Greta will be back. Beyond LI, bucking Phil’s forecast to predict an early spring was New York City’s Staten Island Chuck. But upstate New York’s Dunkirk Dave and Connecticut’s Chuckles agreed with Phil and forecast more winter. New Jersey’s Milltown Mel died shortly before Groundhog Day.

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

Malverne Malverne Mel tells Mayor Keith Corbett he saw his shadow 2222 Joe Abate 1
Malverne Mel tells Mayor Keith Corbett he saw his shadow.(Photo by Joe Abate)

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