Early spring: No shadow for Tupelo’s groundhog, Oscar

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Oscar the groundhog, like many of Tupelo’s teenagers, was slow to rise on a chilly Saturday morning, but when he finally did, he stayed out of his hole.
Legend has it since Oscar stayed above ground and was not spooked back into his hole by his own shadow, spring will come early.
While Oscar was chilled waking up in Tupelo, many of his Northeast Mississippi neighbors woke up to icy conditions.
While travelers in Alcorn, Tishomingo, Benton and Marshall counties battled slick roads, Oscar looked warm in his burrow and a little upset that he was awake at 8 a.m. After some coaxing and the promise of pecans, the hefty groundhog made his way out of his hole to root around in his pen.
Oscar’s more famous kin, Punxsutawney Phil, of Punxsutawney, Penn., also predicted on Saturday an early spring for 2013.
Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo zookeeper Kathy Cappleman said Oscar predicted an early spring last year, unlike Phil, who said there would be six more weeks of winter, and spring did indeed come early.
As it stands now, cold weather will be here for the foreseeable future but meteorologist Marlene Mickelson of the National Weather Service in Memphis said she doesn’t expect more ice.
The region’s skies should be mostly sunny with temperatures in the mid-50s to low 60s this week with low temperatures climbing out of the mid-30s into the mid-40s.
As for if the experts agree spring will come early this year, the National Weather Service doesn’t made predictions that far out.
jb.clark@journalinc.com