Beau ventures out of his mansion on Groundhog Day at the Yellow River Ranch in Lilburn. (Photo: Chris Roughgarden)
General Beauregard Lee, the South’s official weather prognosticator, did not see his shadow when he emerged at the Yellow River Game Ranch in Lilburn.
With the snow barely melted from a winter storm that shut down Atlanta, Gwinnett’s groundhog predicted an end to winter Sunday.
General Beauregard Lee, the South’s official weather prognosticator, did not see his shadow, when he emerged from his mansion at the Yellow River Game Ranch in Lilburn this Groundhog’s Day.
“This is awesome,” 6-year-old Jessica Epps said. The Sugar Hill girl had her fill of snow earlier this week, when more than 2 inches fell and caused traffic havoc and shut down schools and governments.
“I want spring,” she said. “I want to have fun at the pool.”
While two of her cousins agreed, 10-year-old Preston Morgan was disappointed by General Lee’s prediction. “I’m going for winter because of more snow,” he said. “I like to go sledding.”
The crowd was divided at the game ranch, where manager Codi Reeves said he usually sees more support for spring.
Hope Jones, 4, held a sign supporting snow, as she sat atop her dad’s shoulders in the early morning fog.
This week’s snow was the first she remembers, and even though her brother and sister didn’t get a break from lessons like many local children, as they are homeschooled, the kids wanted a chance to make another snowman.
“It’s so fun,” Hope said, but when dad chimed in that he was ready for warmer temperatures, she added, “But it makes the roads slippery.”
General Lee, awakened by a trumpet herald from the cast of Medieval Times and coaxed out by the smell of Waffle House hashbrowns, has a 93 percent accuracy rate in his time at the Yellow River game ranch, which began in the early 1980s. (Reeves did note that the groundhog is similar to Santa Claus, with new woodchucks taking over the role over the decades.)
“The only year he was wrong was the blizzard of ‘93,” Reeves said. “That was a big blunder, but even the meteorologist missed that.”
But while Reeves hopes the temperatures begin to climb, many forecasters say that snow could return to the area by the end of the week.
“Usually if it gets nice before the six weeks is up, we say it’s OK, but it kind of depends on who you talk to,” Reeves said. “If we get snow, (people) will probably be like, ‘what?’ I’m not going to argue.”
But no matter the prediction, Karen Lim loves to hear the furry prognosticator.
She’s such a fan that she even traveled to Philadelphia to see Punxsutawney Phil during the “Phildemonium” on 2/2/02, and held a sign Sunday that asked, “What does the groundhog say?”
A house divided, as 4-year-old Isaac wants another chance to throw a snowball at his sister, the elder Lims say they are ready for spring. Husband Tanna had trouble getting home Tuesday, although it wasn’t nearly as bad as some people stranded in traffic overnight.
“I love Groundhog Day,” Karen Lim said. “It’s a fun tradition for the kids.”