Georgia Groundhog Predicts Early Spring Arrival


News Team

Atlanta, Georgia is home to its very own weather forecasting groundhog, General Beauregard Lee. This February 2nd, General Beauregard Lee made his annual Groundhog Day prediction from his home in Jackson, Georgia. Leaving his white mansion at the Dauset Trails Nature Center shortly after 7:30 a.m., the groundhog did not see his shadow, indicating that spring will come early, just as Punxsutawney Phil predicted in Pennsylvania.

Every year in Butts County, General Beauregard Lee, or Beau for short, comes out of his house at the Dauset Trails Nature Center to tell us whether we’ll see six more weeks of winter weather or an early spring. It’s not exactly scientific, but Beau at least has a better success rate than Phil in the North. According to a recent analysis by 538, Beau is accurate about how the winter/spring split will play out in the Southeast about 70% of the time, while Phil has been less accurate than tossing a coin for his home region since 1994, with only about a 40% accuracy rate. For the Southeast, Phil is even less precise, at about 30%.

General Beauregard Lee lived at Yellow River Game Ranch in Gwinnett County for over 25 years until the ranch closed in 2017. Dauset Trails director Ike English told sister station 11Alive WMAZ in 2020 that Waffle House hash browns and Indian Springs water is what has kept the South’s “Doctor of Southern Groundology” predicting the weather for 39 years. Beau’s name comes from Confederate history, referring to Generals PGT Beauregard and Robert E. Lee.

While Groundhog Day is a popular tradition, there is science behind it. Punxsutawney Phil, America’s most famous groundhog, is about to predict six more weeks of winter or an early spring. Phil has an “inner circle” responsible for planning the events around Groundhog Day and looking after Phil. They say Phil’s predictions are not geographically specific, so if he “predicts” a long winter, it’s probably true somewhere in the world.

Punxsutawney Phil has been the same groundhog throughout the 136-year tradition, more than 15 times longer than the upper limit of a typical groundhog’s lifespan. They claim to make him immortal by feeding him ‘groundhog punch’ every year. They also claim that Phil can communicate his predictions to the current president of the inner circle.

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