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Gen. Beau Knows: Lilburn Groundhog Expects Early Spring

"Georgia's Official Weather Prognosticator" doesn't see his shadow at the Yellow River Game Ranch.

As quickly as he darted out of his plantation-style house at the Yellow River Game Ranch in Lilburn, you'd like to think General Beauregard Lee (Georgia's famed groundhog) didn't have enough time to tell whether or not there was a shadow.

But apparently, "Georgia's Official Weather Prognosticator" did not see his shadow during his annual Groundhog Day appearance Thursday morning.

"It's 7:35 [a.m.] and 40 degrees. No shadow means an early spring," was announced as at least a couple hundred spectators — many chanting and making noise to entice the groundhog out of the house — looked on.

Gen. Lee darted out in a blur, then hid underneath shrubs inside his fenced-in area as game ranch employes chased him out in the open for spectators to see.

After scooting back and forth between shrubs in an amusing game of chase with workers, Beau finally settled in front of his house before the crowd thinned out.

Event organizers say Beau is seldom wrong with his predicitions, although his groundhog counterpart, Punxsutawney Phil in Gobbler's Knob, Pa., didn't agree Thursday. Phil did see his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter.

North Georgia Weather February 02, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I know a billy goat that can do a pretty good job...
Mitch February 02, 2012 at 06:08 PM
"You want a prediction about the weather? You're asking the wrong Phil. I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be gray, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life." - Phil Conners (aka Bill Murray)
Jeffrey Allen February 02, 2012 at 08:48 PM
It's almost 70 degrees outside. The prediction this year was such a no-brainer that they demoted General Beau to "Captain Obvious"
David Binder February 02, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I'm surprised with all that noise & comotion he'd actually come out !! Thanks for the report.
North Georgia Weather February 02, 2012 at 10:41 PM
He was probably content sleeping 'till a bunch of yoohoos poked and prodded him out! :-)) Had he slept till HE wanted to wake up, he would have seen his shadow. Poor Beau. I told my cafeteria manager to have a talk with him about the rest of winter but instead she was probably one of the ones poking him out!
Kim Roberto February 03, 2012 at 10:48 AM
So if I go up north, it will still be winter, but if I stay here in the south, it will be spring? Gotta love those rodents! :)
North Georgia Weather February 03, 2012 at 11:22 AM
I don't think winter is on this side of the hemisphere this year... I had to look up the history of Groundhog Day http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundhog_Day There is an updated list at the end of all the 'hog predictions for this year. And to directly answer your question, it is possible during certain weather pattern scenarios where one section of the country could be "done" for the winter early while one might just begin having their winter late in the season. That might be what's beginning to happen to us here and I'll have more in a blog post. The National Climatic Data Center says the groundhogs are about 39% correct overall. Knowing that, I feel better about what is getting ready to happen.
Sharon Swanepoel February 03, 2012 at 11:39 AM
I heard that General Lee predicted an early spring in 1993 - just sayin.
North Georgia Weather February 03, 2012 at 11:40 AM
That's why I feel better about what I'm seeing... :-) More to come on that!
Dawn H February 06, 2012 at 08:31 PM
He's shoved from a plexiglass tunnel from the inside w/ a stick. Nice huh. I know because I've had to crawl in that dingy "mansion" & wait quietly while the crowd gathered in the cold in an uncomfortable, tight, dirty spot to help poke him through to please dozens of ignorant cheering bystanders.You want real weather, watch the news or buy an Almanac. Groundhogs are rodents not weather forecasters.
North Georgia Weather February 07, 2012 at 01:18 AM
LOL! Tell us how you really feel! :-)

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