On a rainy Groundhog Day reminiscent of the September floods that nearly swept away his Gwinnett County home, a slightly wounded and very reluctant Gen. Beauregard Lee declared that spring is just around the corner.
After hiding from his handlers at the Yellow River Game Ranch, then trying to climb the fence surrounding his plantation-style home, Georgia's resident groundhog, sporting a skinned nose, finally emerged at 7:35 a.m. and failed to see his shadow.
According to lore, if the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. No shadow foreshadows an early spring.
Game ranch manager Codi Reeves wasn't sure how the General hurt his nose but said his staff had been treating the wound with Neosporin for about a week.
"They like to dig a lot and sometimes they hit a rock," Reeves said.
As for Beauregard's reluctance to fulfill his annual prognosticating duties, Reeves said, "you just never know how they're going to react. Sometimes they don't want to be bothered too much and he was a little camera shy this morning."
Last September, the game ranch was threatened by the Yellow River's rising water during the state's historic floods. But Beau's home on a hill at the game ranch, "Weathering Heights," kept him high and dry and out of harm's way.
Forecasters weren't predicting any flooding from Tuesday morning's rain, but another round of rain later in the week could push creeks to near flood stage, the National Weather Service said.
"Periods of heavy rain will be possible Thursday into Friday, with the heaviest rain expected on Thursday night," the Weather Service said. "Widespread rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches are expected, with isolated higher amounts possible.
The forecast for metro Atlanta calls for sunny skies on Wednesday, with highs in the mid-50s and lows in the low to mid-30s.
The chance of rain is 80 percent Thursday, 90 percent Thursday night and 80 percent on Friday. Highs will be in the mid- to upper 40s, with lows in the mid-30s.