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Groundhog Day 2015: Punxsutawney Phil vs. Staten Island Chuck

WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ– Will it be six more weeks of winter or an early spring? This past week, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, while Staten Island Chuck gave us some hope for good weather.
According to the Washington Post,” around 7:25 a.m. in Punxsutawney, Pa., Phil saw his shadow, forecasting six more weeks of winter.   Staten Island Chuck, on the other hand, predicted an early spring this year. According to Staten Island Chuck blessed us with some good weather news. Just before 7:30 a.m., he crawled out of his burrow to look for his shadow, but there wasn’t one in sight.
Groundhog allegiance appears to be split on campus.  Some students, like junior Rebecca Wilson, base their decision on their hometown.  “Born and raised in Staten Island, I will always take Staten Island Chuck’s side,” said Wilson.  “In my opinion I think he has been way more accurate. Also, I love the warm weather, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that we have an early spring. I want to be out of the clouds, rain and snow and into the sun.”

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Staten Island Chuck (left) and Punxsutawney Phil (right). Photo courtesy of and

Other students base their preference on tradition.  “I have been watching Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions every year since I was a little girl. Even though he has been wrong sometimes, I believe him for this year. I feel like our winters have been getting worse annually. However, I wish spring will come fast, because I hate the cold,” said Monmouth University senior, Isabella Furmato.
According to, this holiday originated on February 2, 1987.  That same year a newspaper editor belonging to a group of groundhog hunters called the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club declared that Phil, the Punxsutawney groundhog, was the only true weather-forecasting groundhog.
Groundhogs go into hibernation in the late fall, and during this time, their body temperatures drop significantly, their heartbeats slow from 80 to five beats per minute and they can lose 30 percent of their body fat. In February, male groundhogs emerge from their burrows to look for a mate (not to predict the weather) before going underground again. They come out of hibernation for good in March.
Today, Groundhog Day consists of early morning festivities as the Groundhog, be it Phil or Chuck, is plucked from his pen to determine the outcome of the weather for the coming weeks.
Although groundhogs are certainly not accurate weather predictors, Chuck has an impressive track record.  Chuck has been correct in his predictions for the past five years, which gave him a 76 percent accuracy rate over the past 34 years.  Phil, however, was wrong about his predication in 2013.  “There are several groundhog weather predictors today, and I am not sure that any of them are true weather interpreters,” said Monmouth University senior Brittany Balzofiore.
Were Punxsutawney Phil or Staten Island Chuck were right in their predictions?  Only time will tell.  In the mean time, the Monmouth community will be crossing their fingers for an early spring.  Bring on the beautiful, warm weather and sunny, clear skies!