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Gwinnett groundhog predicts early spring for Georgia

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Gen. Beauregard Lee didn't see his shadow on Tuesday. (He never does.) Hopefully, that means an early spring! AJC/Vino Wong

After floods, snow, ice and frigid stretches that refute my most visceral reasons for moving to Georgia, I’m totally willing to believe a wily groundhog that says we’re in for an early spring.

Gen. Beauregard Lee, the marmot mascot of Lilburn’s Yellow River Game Ranch, did not see his shadow today, and therefore, predicts an early spring for Georgia. (Here are more photos of his Groundhog Day outing. You can see his updates on Twitter, too.)

Of course, Beauregard has never been scared by his shadow, and therefore, has never signaled a longer winter. Alas, he must be fearless to the point of foolishness, because he’s often wrong. (And obviously there’s nothing foolish about humans seeking meteorology advice from a rodent. If snow falls in April, I blame him.)

In fact, Beauregard’s prediction contradicts the news from the more famous member of his species, Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, who predicted a longer winter. I prefer to think of Beauregard Lee as the local weather woodchuck. I’m sure Phil is a great guy, but you can’t really understand Georgia weather unless you’ve lived here.

And once spring arrives, people come outside in earnest. There are trails to hike, festivals to be excited about and parks to visit. We hold our own during winter, but you can’t get much better than spring in Atlanta.

Beau is done making guesses till next Feb. 2, you can visit him all year long at the the Yellow River Game Ranch. If it’s cold, though, don’t expect him to come outside his house, either.

Want to go? The Yellow River Game Ranch, 4525 Highway 78, Lilburn. Seasonal hours of 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8, $7 for kids ages 2-11, free for kids younger than 2 with adult admission. 770-972-6643, www.yellowrivergameranch.com.

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[...] Or maybe it’s just another testament to our crazy weather and seasonal uncertainty. I choose to believe that it means Gen. Beauregard Lee was right. [...]