Local News

Raleigh's Sir Walter Wally forecasts six more weeks of winter

Posted February 2, 2012

— Predicting weather during the winter months in North Carolina is never easy, but this season has been especially challenging thanks to back-and-forth temperatures that have kept people guessing.

But guess no more.

 Sir Walter Wally sees his shadow

With sunny skies and temperatures around 65 degrees at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh, Sir Walter Wally – the Triangle’s answer to Pennsylvania's famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil – saw its shadow Thursday afternoon.

"He says there's good news and there's bad news," honorary groundhog handler Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane said. "The bad news is he saw his shadow, which is six more weeks of winter. But the good news, he said, is this is winter."

In an interview with WRAL News after the announcement, museum staff revealed that Sir Walter Raleigh is actually a female groundhog.

Punxsutawney Phil also predicted six more weeks of winter earlier Thursday after emerging from his lair just before 7:30 a.m. Garner's Mortimer the Groundhog, however, predicted an early spring.

The Groundhog Day celebration is rooted in a German superstition that says if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2 – the Christian holiday of Candlemas – winter will last another six weeks. If there's no shadow, legend says, spring comes early.

Sir Walter Wally Sir Walter Wally preps for his weather prediction

The Museum of Sciences, each year, hosts the ceremony and a free event at the museum, in which visitors can learn about animal hibernation, signs of spring, the history of Groundhog Day and more.

This year, fans also got a chance to have their photos taken with the 10-month-old Wally.


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  • el conquistador Feb 3, 2012

    Uhavenoclu----you're exposing yourself by admitting to buying a $1200 pair of "Air Jordan winter boots". #23 is laughing at you...and so are we.He's laughing all the way to the bank. We just feel sorry for you.Are you interested in the Brooklyn Bridge...the Eiffel tower was recently reduced to just 3 million $$..I can hook you up playa..

  • Remy Feb 3, 2012

    "Maybe if people read the messages and not just the words they will see there is alot of poking at the news and sarcasm and just good ole fun in most of my comments. "

    Maybe you should not expect people to read the message and not the words. Doesn't appear to be working too well for you.

  • tjdebord Feb 3, 2012

    Well, if it's 6 more weeks of what this winter's been like then that's not too bad, is it?

  • Uhavenoclu Feb 2, 2012

    Desiderata...Belief me I have been to every part of the U.S,and Parts of Europe,Iknow all about weather,San Francisco as Mark said is the coldest winter during the summer time...
    Maybe if people read the messages and not just the words they will see there is alot of poking at the news and sarcasm and just good ole fun in most of my comments.
    People live in fear and take life too seriously for if you may recall there were many people paying hundreds of dollars for a lousy pair of shoes just to be part of the crowd so they can fit in with everyone else like the iphone instead of being themselves.
    I think Idaho has a saying about the weather changing every 5 minutes?.
    I have worked in rain sleet snow and sun all in t shirts or sweaters and I have learned not to like or hate the weather,just tolerate it.

  • Desiderata Feb 2, 2012

    Uhavenoclu..just think, you are doing justice to your own "name". I , for one , am aware of how the weather can change and will keep my down coat in my truck, along with the snow chains, change of clothing;....BLINK, and the weather changes!

  • boneymaroney13 Feb 2, 2012

    Why don't we ask the wican's and the voodoo's to tell us the future as well??? Makes about as much sense.

  • tommybrownnc Feb 2, 2012

    If the lady had looked early in the morning, as she should have in my humble opinion, she would NOT have seen her shadow and the prediction would be the opposite. Just saying.

  • lilypony Feb 2, 2012

    Apparently Garner's groundhog was the only one who noticed it was 70 degrees. He knows it's spring!

  • selk1997 Feb 2, 2012

    Well if this is Winter, I can handle 6 more weeks of it. What really scares me, is this is winter, what will Summer be like???????!!!!!!!??????

  • Pepe Silvia Feb 2, 2012

    "I spent $600 on a nice jacket and $1200 on some Air Jordon winter boots that I haven't been able to use yet." -Uhavenoclu

    $1200 for shoes to wear in the snow? No one to blame but yourself for that stupidity.