Move over Punxsutawney Phil, Sussex County has it's own spring-predicting pundit. Stonewall Jackson V lives at Space Farms and is cared for by none other than Assemblyman Parker Space, owner of the farm. He did not see his shadow which means an early spring is predicted.
“This is good for our area's farmers,” Space said.
Getting crops going earlier bodes for a more bountiful season.
“Stonewall seems to have a better weather reporting track record than most weather reporters,” Space said.
In Pennsylvania, thousands gathered for the annual emergence of Punxsutawney Phil. That ceremony is done with great pomp and circumstance with town elders dressed in top hats and tailed coats, a tradition that started on February 2, 1887. Phil didn't see his shadow either, concurring with Stonewall.
According to folklore, if a a weather predicting Marmota Monax emerges from its burrow and sees its shadow it means another six weeks of winter. Groundhog Day is on February 2nd each year and is a day when people gather in various towns across the country to see if a rodent sees it's shadow.
Staten Island Chuck (NY) and Milltown Mell (Milltown, NJ) didn't see their shadows so also agreed with Stonewall.
Essex Ed usually predicts from his home at the Turtle Back Zoo, in West Orange, NJ. Unfortunately, he was to tired to wake from his slumber so the zoo instead used a Native American Tesal to do the prediction. He said six more weeks of winter.
Stonewall Jackson V comes from a long line of weather predicting pundits, and Space Farms' groundhogs have been predicting on Ground Hog Day for over 20 years. There was one exception, in 2016, when Space, went to check on Stonewall Jackson IV on the eve of Groundhog Day to find that he had passed away. Stonewall V stepped in the next year and has been predicting ever since.