Hundreds of area residents gathered in the frigid temperatures this morning to hear from Holtsville Hal, the Suffolk County prognasticator of local weather at this year's Groundhog Day festival. The verdict from Hal?
Six more weeks of winter. In a proclamation read by Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, the marmot woke up this morning and saw his shadow.
"Now I gotta go get the department of highways ready for the snowstorms," Romaine quipped as he left the stage.
Wayne Carrington, a volunteer at the Holtsville Ecology Center where the event was held, was the emcee of the proceedings. Carrington thanked the large crowd not only for supporting the day, but for coming out in support this year as the Ecology Center was under the chopping block from Brookhaven's budget.
But it was Hal who starred in the show, as the locally famous rodent posed for pictures with children and spoke with the supervisor about his prediction.
Hal's feeling of a lengthy winter, however, is not shared by his more famous cousin Punxsutawney Phil, who predicted this same morning that we'd see an early spring.
Maybe in Pennsylvania. For us, it's boots and gloves until at least mid-March, according to Hal.