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Gertie says we have six more weeks of winter

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Monday morning was bright and beautiful. But considering the weather we had on the weekend, the last thing most of us wanted to hear was that more winter was in store.

That’s what Gertie the groundhog revealed on Monday, Groundhog Day, at Wildlife Prairie Park. That bright Sunday meant it was likely Gertie would see her shadow, which would mean six more weeks of winter instead of an early spring.

Indeed, park officials said, that was the prognostication Gertie delivered to park naturalist Sara Tate and to the honorary mayor for the event, Maddie Heidenreich, the morning weathercaster at WEEK-TV. “Gertie has some bad news for us. With no clouds in the sky and winter already here, Gertie, unfortunately, says there are six more weeks of winter. So, she says to bundle up,” Heidenreich announced to the crowd who gathered for the prediction.

That prediction was like that from the country’s most famous Groundhog Day prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil. He saw his shadow despite overcast skies in Pennsylvania and said there’d be six more weeks of winter.

Last year, Gertie predicted an early spring. We all know how well that forecast turned out: Central Illinois has record snowfall last winter, including more than 7 inches of the white stuff in March and nearly a half-inch on April 14.  

By the calendar, of course, there are always basically six weeks of winter to come after Groundhog Day. The spring equinox is March 20.


About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).