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For Malverne Mel, it’ll be ‘Groundhog Day’ on Groundhog Day

Malverne Mel, aka Brian, fuels up ahead of

Malverne Mel, aka Brian, fuels up ahead of his two scheduled appearances on Groundhog Day on Friday. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

For Malverne Mel, this Groundhog Day is about to mimic the Bill Murray film of the same name.

Like the 1993 movie where a Pennsylvania weatherman finds himself stuck in a time loop, repeating the day over and over, Mel will experience some Groundhog Day deja vu with two appearances on Friday.

The furry forecaster — whose actual name is Brian — will pull double duty when he heads to Malverne to assume the role of Malverne Mel and then on to Quogue Library, where he will make a second prediction later in the morning.

As the story goes, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on that day, then spring will arrive early; if it is sunny and the groundhog sees its shadow, winter will persist for another six weeks. It’s less clear what happens when the rodent is asked to make multiple predictions.

Quogue is hosting its first groundhog celebration at 9:30 a.m., and organizers hope to make it an annual tradition.

“On the East End, having grown up in Southampton, you look for things that are going to give you hope for springtime,” said Quogue Library adult programs coordinator Selina Pasca.

Quogue Fire Department Chief Chris Osborne will don a formal top hat and announce the animal’s prediction, Pasca said. The event is open to all and hot chocolate will be served.

Before its Quogue visit, the groundhog — also called a woodchuck or whistle pig — will appear at a gazebo on Church Street in Malverne during the 23rd annual event, which begins at 7 a.m. The Banjo Rascals will perform and the little guy will pose for photos with residents.

“It’s an opportunity for everyone to come together,” said Malverne Mayor Patti Ann McDonald, who attended the annual event with her son, Conor, now 30, when he was a boy.

Meanwhile, Holtsville Hal will make his 22nd prognostication at the Brookhaven Wildlife and Ecology Center in Holtsville, which will be read by highway superintendent Dan Losquadro at 7:25 a.m. Doors open at 7 a.m.

Hal’s handlers said the ecology site resident welcomes another groundhog forecast on Long Island as professional meteorologists got it wrong earlier this week: They predicted a dusting of snow when 8 inches fell in some parts of Suffolk County.

His forecasting compadre, Brian, lives at the Save the Animals Rescue Foundation in Middle Island, where he was treated for raccoon roundworm after he was found in July 2016. Although he has recovered, Brian was left with brain damage from the parasite, which makes him unable to return to the wild.

“He’s docile because of his disability,” said Lori Ketcham, a director of the organization.

Ketcham estimated the animal is about 2 years old and weighs about 8 pounds. “All day he sleeps and eats” mostly greens, she said.

Following Brian’s double shift on Friday, he’ll return to his home for a nap and some veggies.

“He likes a good sweet potato,” Ketcham said.

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