Game Ranch mascot predicts early spring

LILBURN - General Beauregard Lee, Georgia's official weather prognosticator, failed to see his shadow Monday morning, predicting an early spring.

While a small crowd cheered outside the groundhog's mini-mansion at the Yellow River Game Ranch, Beau ventured outside at 7:33 a.m. to make his annual Groundhog Day forecast.

Sue Gretz said she's looking forward to spring temperatures. The Virginia Beach, Va., resident celebrated her birthday Monday at the Game Ranch with her daughter, Ashley, who lives in Atlanta.

"I wanted to be the first one in my family to know when spring's coming," she said.

The furry rodent was joined this year by his cousin, Chopper, mascot of the Gwinnett Braves. Beau also went high-tech for the Game Ranch's 29th annual Groundhog Day celebration, chronicling the activity on his Twitter page, www.twitter.com/gameranch.

While Game Ranch CEO Art Rilling said Beau boasts an accuracy rate of 97 percent, two of his Northern associates - Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania and Woody of Detroit - saw their shadows, meaning winter will last at least six more weeks in those areas.

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