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Wildlife center preps for Holtsville Hal's Groundhog Day appearance

Holtsville Hal meets the public on Feb. 2,

Holtsville Hal meets the public on Feb. 2, 2012. He is expected to come out of his lair this coming Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, to make another prognostication on how much longer winter will last. Credit: James Carbone

Holtsville Hal, Brookhaven Town’s best-known amateur meteorologist, is getting ready for his annual weather forecast.

The groundhog is scheduled to pop out of his lair at the Brookhaven Town Wildlife and Ecology Center Animal Preserve at 7:20 a.m.  Sunday, Groundhog Day, the town Highway Department has announced.

The ecology center, at 249 Buckley Rd. in Holtsville, will be open from 6:45 a.m. to noon. Admission and parking are free. For information, call 631-758-9664.

Tradition holds that winter will last longer if Hal sees his shadow. If there’s no shadow, spring will arrive early.

Hal, and his Nassau County counterpart, Malverne Mel, disappointed many Long Islanders last year by predicting a longer winter.

Brookhaven officials are imploring Hal to reach a different conclusion this year.

“Based on our weather of late, I can only hope that the shadow of the lovable groundhog goes undetected and our spring arrives a bit early,” Councilman Kevin LaValle said in a statement.

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