GROUNDHAWG DAY

Lexington Mayor Pro Tem Wayne Alley, decked out in formal wear and a top hat, proclaimed that Miss Charlotte, Lexington's official weather prognosticator, did not see her shadow Thursday morning and therefore predicted an early end to winter.

David Rolfe/Journal

An early spring was predicted in Lexington Saturday morning by a hog of a different sort. Miss Charlotte, a 3-year-old pot bellied pig did not see her shadow at the city’s annual GroundHawg’s Day event.

JoEllen Edwards, the executive director of Uptown Lexington Inc., said Miss Charlotte was brought out early Saturday morning and predicted an early spring. Edwards said Miss Charlotte has been right the past few years, and hopes the 80-pound pig will be again this year.

“Hopefully by March 21 it will be spring to stay,” Edwards said.

Lexington is known for its tradition of barbecue and pulled pork, and began using a hog to predict spring’s arrival nine years ago, Edwards said.

“With our heritage of pigs, we just thought that we should predict the spring weather with a pig and not with a rodent,” she said.

Elsewhere around the state, the day’s traditional forecasters split the decision.

Groundhogs in North Carolina's two biggest cities disagree on the forecast for the next six weeks.

Sir Walter Wally in Raleigh saw his shadow around noon Saturday, predicting six more weeks of winter. But in Charlotte, Queen Charlotte didn't see her shadow when she came out around 11:30 a.m., predicting an early spring.

Sir Walter Wally missed his prediction last year, while Queen Charlotte was on the money as temperatures in February and March of 2012 were well above normal in North Carolina.

Sir Walter Wally makes his predictions at the N.C. Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, while Queen Charlotte made her appearance at the Charlotte Nature Museum.

On Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., a sleepy groundhog crawled out of its burrow Saturday morning and did not see his shadow, to the delight of about 35,000 people who braved the cold to learn spring would be early this year.

If the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, had seen his shadow, it would have meant six more weeks of winter, or so they say.

But Andrew McKaughan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Newport, does put much stock in the furry forecaster.

McKaughan said he hasn’t done any research on the accuracy of Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions and he doesn’t sit around watching television to learn if the groundhog sees his shadow or not.

“I haven’t ever looked at the actual shadow results from the groundhog and how it relates to winter,” McKaughan said. “I don’t have any numbers but I don’t think he is very factual.”

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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