STATEN ISLAND, New York City (WABC) -- Staten Island Chuck is back in action and prognosticating an early spring on Groundhog Day.
The Staten Island Zoo opened the ceremony to the public for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
While the celebration began at 7 a.m. on Friday, Chuck didn't make his big appearance until 7:30. That's when he came out to the delight of the crowd of children and made his big prediction, SPRING!
Staten Island elected officials and dignitaries and Citizens Philanthropic Foundation local representatives joined Ken Mitchell, the Staten Island Zoo's Executive Director, to help Chuck make his prognostication.
"We're excited to welcome back the public to our annual Groundhog Day ceremony on February 2nd. This marks the first time since 2020 that we are able to showcase our Groundhog Ceremony as an event open to the public," Mitchell said.
"No matter if you're for or against a longer winter, we look forward to bringing the community together," said Nuno Dos Santos, Retail Banking Director at Citizens.
This was also the 10-year anniversary of then-Mayor Bill de Blasio famously dropping Chuck during the ceremony. Sadly, that groundhog passed away.
This Chuck stayed safely in his enclosure while making his prediction.
The zoo says that Chuck has an 80% accuracy rate. That's double Punxsutawney Phil's 40% accuracy rate. Phil also predicted spring this year!
Long Island's two famous groundhogs, Malverne Mel and Holtsville Hal, both also predicted an early spring.