Nassau County’s groundhog predicts early spring

Crowds surrounded a makeshift wood fence on Malverne’s Church Street shouting “Mel” as Patricia Norris-McDonald took to a podium. The Malverne Village Mayor held up a groundhog whose fur was prickling and arms were flailing as it was hoisted into the air.

Mel is Nassau County’s local groundhog, who, according to legend, has showed up for 19 years to look for his shadow on Groundhog Day. The local event competes with Suffolk County’s Holtsville Hal, and Punxsutawney Phil, a national figure. All three have the honor of correctly predicting either an early spring or a longer winter.

 “I, along with all the other people here in the village of Malverne, witness to Malverne Mel who prognosticated to me that upon looking for his shadow, it could not be seen. So I am pleased to announce that it will be an early spring,” said Norris-McDonald to a cheering crowd.

 The fog that surrounded the village prevented Mel from seeing his shadow, yet an end to winter is not in sight. A storm dropped several inches of snow onto Long Island on February 3rd with the possibility of more in the coming weeks.

Before the results are dismissed too quickly, it should be noted that Mel has a 56 percent success rate, putting him on par with Staten Island Chuck, and above Punxsutawney Phil, who has seen his shadow only 44 percent of the time.