Move aside, Punxsutawney Phil! Two Pend Oreille Prairie Dogs, Snowy and Flurry, have their own predictions of how much longer winter will be.

PEND OREILLE COUNTY, Wash. – Move aside, Punxsutawney Phil. Two Pend Oreille County’s prairie dogs make their own predictions for the rest of the winter on Groundhog Day.

Legend has it that there will be six more weeks of winter when Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow on Groundhog Day. If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring is just around the corner.

Snowy and Flurry have been predicting when spring will come for ten years. The couple takes after their owner Bob Lutz (not to be confused with the former Spokane County’s health officer), who runs his own climatology website at klimatehawk.org.

In recent years, however, the couple’s predictions have been less than superb. For 2020 Lutz rated his prairie dog’s prognosis as “fair” and for 2019 as “very bad”. Snowy didn’t see her shadow this year, but the northwest of the country was still being treated with snow and arctic air. The last time their prognosis was rated excellent was in 2017, when “Snowy saw her shadow and winter actually went on”.

According to Lutz, the rodents get it right about 50% of the time.

When the sun rises, Snowy and Flurry will give their forecast for 2021 depending on whether or not they see their shadows.

Lutz even bathed the prairie dogs before the big day. He said they only need about two baths a year. Snowy and Flurry don’t enjoy them, but it helps keep their coats healthy.

Lutz used to have a marmot that was a descendant of Punxsutawney Phil, but he said marmots are difficult to keep because of their hibernation plans.

Fortunately, Snowy and Flurry have taken over the cloak, and the northwest of the country can still get a special forecast of how long the winter will last.