By Mike Kruzman /

Even after a delay due to last week’s winter storm, Livingston County and Michigan’s Official Groundhog is predicting 6 more weeks of winter.

A respectable turnout of people seemingly split between those who wanted more time to enjoy winter activities and those who were over it already showed up Saturday at the Howell Nature Center for Woody’s 23rd annual prediction. The event was pushed from the traditional Groundhog Day last week, for the safety of both those wishing to attend and for Woody, herself. Nature Center CEO John “JC” Carlson said their goal is animal welfare and just before 8:30am, Woody was brought out and set inside her special burrow where she would make her prediction.

Braving the cold outside the burrow, hoping to influence her decision, were the Hawaiian shirt and shorts clad Carlson who was sipping a Gatorade-cocktail representing an early spring, and Wildlife Education Specialist AJ Setterman, who was bundled head-to-toe for more winter fun. Woody poked her head out of the burrow, considering each option, as the crowd counted down to her prediction. Woody took a look both ways, then decided to dip back into the burrow, declaring 6 more weeks of winter.

Saturday’s event helped put a focus on all the efforts the HNC is making towards helping Michigan wildlife. One of those they hope to accomplish in the coming year is a new habitat for woodchucks, giving them the home they were said to deserve.

Woody’s predictions are accurate 77-percent of the time. For those who may be thinking spring, though, the 6 more weeks of winter predicted on Saturday will come to an end on the actual final day of winter.

See a video of the event on the Howell Nature Center’s Facebook page here:

(Photo: Howell Nature Center Facebook)