North Shore residents shouldn’t put away their sleds and snow blowers just yet, according to their furry forecaster.
On a fittingly chilly morning Feb. 2, it was announced, to a mix of groans and hollers from the 450 people in attendance, that famed Brookhaven groundhog Holtsville Hal saw his own shadow upon waking up from hibernation, which means six more weeks of winter are to come.
Hal, “the great prognosticator of prognosticators,” made his annual Groundhog Day forecast at Brookhaven Town’s Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology Center at approximately 7:25 a.m. Thursday, surrounded by a crowd of excited locals, elected officials — Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and Councilmen Neil Foley (R-Blue Point) and Michael Loguercio (R-Ridge) — his handler Greg Drossel, and returning Master of Ceremonies Wayne Carrington.
After Hal’s prediction last year spring would hit the North Shore early, as indicated by him not seeing his shadow, residents were in for a bit of surprise with this year’s prognostication.
But as one resident said before the announcement, “I’m ready for spring but we can’t really complain; it’s been a mild winter so there’s really no pressure on Hal today.”
Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R), serving as Mayor of the Day, made the big announcement by reading from a large scroll as Drossel held Hal up for the crowd.
“[Hal] looked all about and then he looked down, at that very moment a beam of light appeared between a few clouds,” Losquadro read. “So Hal whispered to me, ‘I cannot tell a lie; I saw what I saw in the blink of an eye…it was my shadow down there, so Highway department and residents beware, six more weeks of winter are coming our way.”
Despite the boos that followed, the crowd enjoyed the festivities, which included hot chocolate, a 21-party streamer-salute, and “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher blaring through the speakers, as an homage to the classic 1993 Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day.”