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Groundhog Predicts Early Spring, Doesn't Bite Mayor

By DNAinfo Staff on February 2, 2011 10:48am

By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

STATEN ISLAND — Mayor Michael Bloomberg may finally have a reason to forgive Staten Island Chuck.

The groundhog, who famously chomped Hizzoner’s finger at the Groundhog's Day ceremony two years back, didn't see his shadow Wednesday — meaning an early spring and relief for the city, which has been sacked by snow again and again and again.

According to Groundhog Day lore, if the groundhog sees his shadow, it means at least six more weeks of brutal winter — but no shadow means spring is just around the corner.

Of course, it wasn’t a shocker that the furry prognosticator failed to see his shadow as icy rain streamed from a dark gray sky less than an hour after daybreak.

"I want you to all look up. Does anybody see blue? Kind of hard to get a shadow if you can't see," Bloomberg joked at the annual ceremony at the Staten Island Zoo.

The mayor admitted that really, it’s up to him to make the call, since he decides whether Chuck sees his shadow.

"What mayor in the world would predict a long winter?" he asked. "I think we’re going to be really lucky this time and that Chuck is not going to see his shadow, as defined by the mayor."

The gloved mayor kept Chuck, whose full name is Charles G. Hogg, at arm’s length as he held him in the air before declaring "No shadow!"

"The old joke about being bitten twice," he said.

Even as Chuck and his entourage braved the nasty weather, other furry forecasters, including Woodstock Willie and Malverne Mel were MIA, taking a snow day instead of braving the cold.

The most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, also predicted an early spring from outside his Gobbler's Knob burrow in Pennsylvania.

Staten Island Chuck has successfully predicted the arrival of spring 24 of the last 30 years, zoo officials said.