Holtsville Hal, Malverne Mel Differ on Groundhog Day 2023 Predictions

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).

Holtsville Hal and Malverne Mel delivered conflicting Groundhog Day predictions for the second year in a row on Thursday during their festive early morning ceremonies on Long Island.

Hal saw his shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter, according to folklore, while Mel did not see his shadow, suggesting that spring-like weather will arrive sooner.

“Upon looking for his shadow, it could not be seen,” Malverne Village Mayor Keith Corbett said Tuesday to cheers as polka music began playing. “I hereby announce that is will be an early spring.”

As for the nation’s most famous groundhog, Punxatawnbey Phil saw his shadow. Phil has a 40% accuracy rate for the 10-year span preceding 2017, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Staten Island Chuck joined Mel in bucking Phil’s prediction. Buffalo Bert agreed with Phil.

Later on Thursday, Allen McButterpants made his debut with an early-spring prediction at the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays, and Sam Champion, former known as Quoque Quigley, made a return under a new name to forecast six more weeks of winter.

The predictions come amid a mild, mostly snow-free winter as the National Weather Service warns of dangerously cold weather with wind chills potentially as low as -25 Friday into Saturday.

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)

Both Hal and Mel more often than not predict an early spring.

Here’s how the local groundhogs did in years past:

2022: Holtsvile Hal said spring, Malverne Mel said winter

2021: Hal, Mel and Quogue Quigley, aka Sam Champion, all agreed it would be an early spring

2020: Hal and Mel said it would be a long winter, Quigley said early spring

2019: Hal, Mel and Quigley forecast an early spring

2018; Hal, Mel and Quigley forecast an early spring

2017: Hal said there would be six more weeks of winter

2016: Hal and Mel agreed it would be an early spring

2015: Hal and Mel saw their shadows, meaning more wintry weather

2014: Hal and Mel did not see their shadows, meaning spring-like weather

2013: Hal and Mel said there would be more wintry weather

2012: Hal said spring, Mel said winter

2011: Hal said winter

2010: Hal and Mel said winter

2009: Hal said winter, Mel said spring

2008: Mel said spring

2007 Hal said winter, Mel said spring