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Tipsheet

Oh, So That's Why New Jersey Will Be Without a Groundhog Day Forecast

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

How will New Jersey know the winter outlook on Groundhog Day? Will it be an early spring or six more weeks of winter? We’ll never know. I’m hoping for more winter because I like the cold, but New Jersey will be without such a forecast this year for a simple reason: the groundhog died. Yes, tragically, Milltown Mel passed away before Groundhog Day (via NY Post):

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New Jersey’s weather-predicting groundhog, Milltown Mel, has died suddenly — just before his big day.

“We wranglers are sad to report that Milltown Mel recently crossed over the rainbow bridge,” according to a Sunday post on the groundhog’s Facebook page.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the local celebrity died, but the borough’s annual Groundhog Day ceremony — scheduled for Wednesday — has been axed this year as a result.  

“Considering the average lifespan of a groundhog is about three years, that is not such a shock, but Mel left us at a tough time of year when most of his fellow groundhogs are hibernating,” the post said.

“So no babies will be available to replace him until this Spring. We tried everywhere to get a stand-in, but to no avail.”

[…]

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s famous Punxsutawney Phil will crawl out of his burrow in search of his shadow in front of a crowd at Gobbler’s Knob at 6 a.m.

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RIP, Milltown Mel.

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