Saturday, April 1, 2023

Norfolk police interrogate Chesapeake Chuck about Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog wanted for ‘deception’

NORFOLK — Norfolk police lent a hand to a Pennsylvania sheriff’s office in its search for one of the nation’s most famous weather predictors by conducting an interrogation of their own.

Punxsutawney Phil — a famous groundhog who’s responsible for predicting the end of winter every year — is wanted by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for deception.

The Pennsylvania agency issued a warrant for the groundhog’s arrest on Facebook last week, stating that Punxsutawney Phil’s Feb. 2 prediction of six more weeks of winter had expired, yet many areas in the nation were still experiencing winter weather.

When Norfolk Police Cpl. Will Pickering saw the warrant, he knew where he could go to try and get additional information on Punxsutawney Phil’s whereabouts: The Virginia Living Museum.

Pickering and his partner, NPD Officer Jo Ann Hughes, went to the Newport News museum to interrogate one of Punxsutawney Phil’s closest relatives: A groundhog named Chesapeake Chuck.

The NPD took a video of the interrogation and posted it to Facebook on Wednesday.

“Let’s get right down to business,” Pickering told the groundhog. “Do you know why we’re here, Chuck? … I think you do.”

Pickering continued to badger Chesapeake Chuck about when spring is coming, even showing the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil’s arrest warrant.

“It’s important that you be honest with me and be forthcoming,” Pickering told Chesapeake Chuck. “We can work together on this, OK? One thing I wanted to let you know — I can’t make a whole lot of promises to you, but I might be able to make your life a whole lot more comfortable, OK?”

But Chuck didn’t crack under the pressure, munching silently on broccoli and bananas as the NPD officer continued to question him about the arrival of spring.

After several failed attempts to get answers from Chuck, Pickering sent Hughes in to apply more pressure. She didn’t get any further with the groundhog, refusing to interrogate him on the basis of his cuteness.

Punxsutawney Phil’s weather prediction aside, area meteorologists say the Southside won’t experience consistently warm weather until May or June.

“We’ve had Easters where the high has been in the 90s before, and we’ve also had Easters where there’s been snow,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Larry Brown. “Generally any time from January through April is our most variable time of year. It’s all over the place.”

This week’s temperatures will be a tease of what’s to come. Thursday’s highs will be in the 80s. Temperatures will drop into the 70s on Friday, and the 60s throughout the weekend.

Monday’s temperatures are expected to drop into the 40s and 50s.

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