MILLTOWN – Despite the recent snowstorm that walloped the Tri-State Area, Milltown Mel, the toothy teller of the weather, showed optimism in his prediction.
“As I lay here in my bed and snore, I sneak a peek outside the door,” Mel said in a social media post on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2. “If the lack of shadow is what I truly see. Then an early spring there must be. See you in the spring.”
Mel made his prediction in quarantine this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. He let his followers know he would take a quick look outside to check the weather.
The popular annual prediction in its 13th year is usually announced early in the morning on Feb. 2 before a crowd assembled in the parking lot of the Joyce Kilmer American Legion Post No. 25 on JFK Drive.
During the celebration, the Milltown Wranglers rally the crowd and wake up Mel from his slumber as people hold signs and blow party blowers.
The Milltown Groundhog Day celebration is an evolution of the Guthlein family’s own observance of the holiday. Jerry Guthlein, the former owner of the Bronson and Guthlein Funeral Home in the borough and a former councilman, has since passed the torch onto John McNamara and the rest of the Wranglers.
This was the sixth prediction for this particular Mel, who predicted an early spring last year, six more weeks of winter in 2019 and early springs the previous three years. The former Mel passed away in August 2015 after making a handful of favorable predictions over the years.
This year, Milltown Mel agrees with his neighbor over the bridge, Staten Island Chuck. Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania predicted six more weeks of winter.