Groundhog prediction being challenged in Phoenix

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by Ryan O'Donnell

Bio | Email | Follow: @3TVODonnell

azfamily.com

Posted on February 2, 2013 at 5:17 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 2 at 5:36 PM

PHOENIX -- Most of us know the legend of Punxsutawney Phil. On Feb. 2, if the groundhog sees his shadow and returns to his hole, he has predicted six more weeks of winter-like weather, if not, it means an early spring.

But in Phoenix, his prediction is being challenged by the Valley's own weather predictors.
 
"Today we celebrated prairie dog day at the Phoenix Zoo," said Jeremy Barlow with the Phoenix Zoo.
 
While similar in habit, the prairie dog and groundhog have very few ties. Possibly similar to a distant second or third cousin, but both apparently have psychic abilities when it comes to their shadows.
 
"The keepers came out and threw a bunch of food to our prairie dogs and we look to see if they can see their shadows or not," Barlow said. "Yes, they saw their shadows, which means, by tradition, six more weeks of winter."
 
But that's not what Punxsutawney Phil predicted. The large, furry vegetarian is calling for an early spring.

"There is no shadow to see and early spring for you and me," proclaimed Bob Roberts, one of Phil's handlers.
 
So which rodent is right? You'll have to be the judge, but keep in mind, Punxsutawney Phil has been making weather predictions for more than 123 years, whereas the prairie dogs at the Phoenix Zoo, well, this is their first go at it.

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