Brookfield Zoo's groundhog forecasts the future
February 2, 2006 (WLS) -- On Groundhog Day at the Brookfield Zoo, all eyes were on a furry little forecaster named Cloudy.
At Brookfield Zoo Thursday morning it was clouds, clouds and more clouds. Undeterred, children in attendance were convinced the sun would emerge.
And there it is! No, wait. That's a light bulb, but that's good news. That's because when Cloudy the groundhog emerges from her Plexiglas burrow, there is not a shadow in sight. That means, of course, according to meteorgroundhogologists, that spring is on the way. We learn this from a creature that sleeps away the winter.
Hibernating. What a great way to spend a Chicago winter. But if we ever wanted to hibernate like a groundhog, we would really have to slooooow our systemsssss waaaaay doooown.
"Once the temperature drops continually below 50 degrees, they are actually true hibernators," said Patty Anderson, curator of Groundhogs at Brookfield Zoo. "Their heart rate will actually drop down to about four beats per minute, and their body temperature goes from an average of about 90 degrees down to about 38 degrees Fahrenheit."
But this January has been so mild, Cloudy barely hibernated at all. She has been like a June groundhog in January.
So let's hear from an expert what it all these clouds and shadows mean.
"If she doesn't see her shadow then spring is on the way. If she does see her shadow then winter will stay," said Michael Hall, future TV weatherman.
But she didn't see her shadow so is that good news?
"Then spring is on the way," Hall said.
Cloudy on a cloudy day with a warm, sunny forecast for us.
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