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Phil, Chuck at odds over Groundhog predictions

February 2, 2012 9:24:06 AM PST
Staten Island's famous groundhog disagreed with his Pennsylvania counterpart at sunrise Thursday.

Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his lair and saw his shadow, in the process predicting six more weeks of winter. Staten Island Chuck, on the other hand, did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring.

But at this rate, thanks to the mild winter, either scenario might not be so bad.

Chuck, whose formal name is Charles G. Hogg, made his prediction at the Staten Island Zoo. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in announcing the prediction, also told onlookers at the zoo to root for the Giants in the Super Bowl.

Bloomberg handled him with heavy gloves. They became part of the mayor's fashion attire for the annual event after Chuck chomped on his finger in 2009.

Phil's prediction came on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill in the town for which he's named about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. "Many shadows do I see" declared the Pennsylvania prognosticator.

Temperatures were near freezing when he emerged at dawn - unseasonably warm - and are forecast to climb into the mid-40s in a winter that's brought little snow and only a few notably cold days to much of the East.

Thursday's ceremony is largely that: Phil's prediction is determined ahead of time by the Inner Circle, a group which dons top hats and tuxedos and decides in advance what the groundhog will predict.

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