Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 3, 2014

Concord Charlie primed to make practical prognostication on the coming of spring

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

ATHENS — Punxsutawney Phil had his shot at predicting the weather Sunday morning, but Concord Charlie and his mate, Concord Charlene, will take center stage this morning for the 36th annual Concord University Groundhog Day Breakfast.

Charlie has the opportunity to learn from his cousin Phil’s prediction on the traditional Groundhog Day. After all, Charlie’s prediction will be one day closer to spring, which will arrive on Thursday, March 20.

“Punxsutawney Phil didn’t take much of a risk,” Chris Fisher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., said in response to Phil’s prediction who has been the most famous of the forecasting rodents since 1886 — the same year that Josephine Cochrane invented the dishwasher.

While Gobbler’s Knob was only partly cloudy at dawn, Concord Charlie is due to emerge from his burrow into a pouring rain this morning with a 100 percent chance of rain, according to the National Weather Service — very difficult weather for seeing shadows, the indicator that drives Cousin Phil back into his hole for an additional six weeks of winter.

Dr. Kendra Boggess, interim CU president said over the weekend that she has not had a chance to speak with Charlie.

“The story here is that Charlie and Charlene have eight children and five of them have been going into a neighbor’s garden for snacks,” Boggess said. Without providing any more details, the story is that the neighbor subjected the children to some in-rodent — something akin to inhumane, but applying to groundhogs — treatment that did not harm them, but caused a fuss.

“I have not been able to talk with him since then,” Boggess said. “I’m going out early (this) morning and try to talk with him.”

While Boggess did not know what Charlie had up his fur in terms of a forecast, she said that she was very proud that CU graduate Greg Puckett has been selected to serve as the “Great Groundhog Watcher.”

“I am just so inspired by what Greg and those kids are doing on Mercer Street in Princeton,” Boggess said. “It takes excitement to make positive change, and Greg has been working to bring excitement to the projects Commun-ity Connections is working on.”

Pausing for a moment to return to a prediction not involving a groundhog, Fisher said that the area will see back-to-back systems with the one bringing rain and a possibility of sleet this morning, a partly sunny day on Thursday with a chance of rain and snow on Friday into Saturday.

“The system doesn’t stick around too long,” Fisher said. He added that the Weather Service’s forecasts don’t go out any further than 8-14 days. He does, however enjoy watching the movie, “Groundhog Day,” starring Bill Murray.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com