Dunkirk Dave Predicts Early Spring

February 2, 2011 Updated Feb 2, 2011 at 9:07 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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February 2, 2011 Updated Feb 2, 2011 at 9:07 PM EDT

(Dunkirk, NY) He's not as famous as his Pennsylvania cousin, Punxsutawney Phil, but Dunkirk Dave claims to have better accuracy.

According to his handler Bob Will, Dunkirk Dave is 90% correct when it comes to guessing when we'll see spring weather.

On this groundhog day in Dunkirk, heavy overcast and sleet prevented any shadows from being seen by anyone - including Dunkirk Dave.

According to tradition, if the groundhog can't see his shadow, that means we will see early spring weather.

Bob Will started the annual Dunkirk Dave groundhog event in 1966 while he was a teacher in the Dunkirk School system. Since then, it has become a favorite Western New York media event for newspaper, radio, and television stations.

Dunkirk Dave boasts that he is the second longest prognosticating groundhog - second only to Punxsutawney Phil.

In reality, several groundhogs have played the part of Dunkirk Dave over the years. "Groundhogs only live in captivity about 14 years." says Will.

When asked if this year's Dunkirk Dave was a male or female, Bob Will and his associate Bill Verge laughed. "That's a Dunkirk Dave secret."

What was Punxsutawney Phil's prediction? He didn't see his shadow either which means early spring weather.