This is a press release from Essex County. Press releases are official statements that have not been independently verified.
Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced the Essex Ed, the resident groundhog at Turtle Back Zoo, made his annual weather predication on Tuesday, February 2nd, which is nationally recognized as “Groundhog Day.” During the 11 a.m. Zoom prognostication, Essex Ed did not see his shadow which means spring weather is expected to come six weeks early. In addition, Essex Ed picked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win Super Bowl LV.
“Essex Ed and I don’t always agree with the weather prediction, but this year I like his forecast of an early spring,” DiVincenzo said. “”It may be cold outside, but it’s still a great time to come out and Experience Essex, and our wonderful Turtle Back Zoo and South Mountain Recreation Complex. Waiting for Essex Ed on Groundhog Day creates excitement about Essex County’s Turtle Back Zoo and highlights its role as an educational resource,” he added.
Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, Essex Ed’s prognostication was delivered remotely via a Zoom conference call. His prediction is as follows:
Even I couldn’t predict, what 2020 would bring
I mean, I just predict weather, secretly hoping for spring
At first quarantine was like hibernation, months at a time… all alone
Though when months turned to new seasons, I was way out of my zone!
So, I started new hobbies, tried out new cuisine,
Took online classes, learned yoga… I cleaned and I cleaned.
Now Groundhog Day is MY day, to be the center of the room.
But to stay socially distant, this year, I’m trying out Zoom!
No shadow, no shadow, no sun in the sky
Winter is over, we bid you goodbye.
So, dust off your jeans, put those sweatpants away
Expect Spring to be early, and for it all to be okay.
Still mask, social distance, and wash your hands too
But I predict a year of great memories, for me and for you
There is still a football game to be played, so here’s the prediction,
Florida will bring a lucky seven for Brady is my intuition.
Essex Ed has been predicting the mid-winter forecast since 1997 and the Zoo had various other groundhogs predict before him. Essex Ed was mentored under the esteemed Punxsutawney Phil, but his predications are his own. New Jersey weather is not always in line with Pennsylvania’s after all, and Ed could easily see his shadow while Phil does not or vice versa. In the mid-2000s, Essex Ed started adding Super Bowl predictions to his prognostication. He’s much better at predicting the weather than football, but in his defense, he hibernates through most of the sport’s season.
Legend has it that if a groundhog sees his shadow on February 2nd, the winter chill will continue. If the weather is cloudy and he doesn’t see his shadow, we can expect warmer temperatures and early spring.