What to know about Gwinnett celebrity groundhog Gen. Beauregard Lee

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What to know about Gwinnett celebrity groundhog Gen. Beauregard Lee

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JONATHAN PHILLIPS / SPECIAL
General Beauregard Lee pokes his head out of the front door to his enclosure at the Yellow River Game Ranch in Lilburn on Sunday, February 2, 2014.

Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck can step aside; there’s only one groundhog’s prediction to watch this Groundhog Day.

Gen. Beauregard Lee, Gwinnett County’s own celebrity groundhog, will peer out of his antebellum-style, groundhog-sized Southern mansion Thursday morning and make his prediction. 

Will it be six more weeks of winter, or an early spring? 

You can rely on metro Atlanta’s favorite rodent, who has a 94 percent accuracy rating, according to the Yellow River Game Ranch, where Beau makes his home year-round.

What do you need to know about this furry Southern gentleman? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

  1. He’s not the first groundhog to make predictions at Yellow River Game Ranch. Beau is the “bachelor nephew” of the original Gen. Lee, who served as the ranch’s chief rodent prognosticator for 10 years before Beau took over. The current Gen. Lee is 17 years old, according to the Ranch, far exceeding the life expectancy of his fellow groundhogs, which is about six to eight years.
  2. Beau’s on his own time. Nobody’s yanking the General out of his white-columned palace before he’s good and ready to predict the weather. Beau decides when to come out and make his annual prediction, aided by a trumpeter, causing much anticipatory fanfare from the crowd that gathers at Yellow River Game Ranch every year.  But don’t worry, he’s expected to emerge some time between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Thursday, when Ranch admission is free.
  3. Not just a general, but an (honorary) doctor. Beau has received honorary doctorates from the University of Georgia (in “Weather Prognostication”) and Georgia State University (a “Doctor of Southern Groundhogology”).  He’s also been honored by the National Weather Service twice for his reliable forecasts.

The Yellow River Game Ranch is welcoming spectators to witness Beau’s prediction on Groundhog Day, Thursday morning. Entry is free between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., and Waffle House will be providing free coffee and hot chocolate.

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