Listen Live

MILLTOWN, N.J. – A New Jersey town’s prognosticating groundhog has died ahead of his big day.

>> Read more trending news

According to NJ.com and CentralJersey.com, Milltown Mel, the star of Milltown’s annual Groundhog Day ceremony, “recently crossed over the rainbow bridge,” his handlers announced Sunday on social media.

“Considering the average life span of a groundhog is about three years, that is not such a shock, but Mel left us at a tough time of year, when most of his fellow groundhogs are hibernating … so no babies will be available to replace him until this spring,” the Milltown Wranglers wrote in a Facebook post.

Although the group was unable to find a stand-in for this year’s holiday, the Wranglers urged fans of the meteorological marvel to “please check out what all of Mel’s cousins have to say on Feb. 2.”

Wednesday would have marked the seventh weather prediction for the most recent Mel, who inherited the name and forecasting gig when his predecessor died in August 2015, the news outlets reported. During his tenure, he saw his shadow twice and predicted four early springs, according to CentralJersey.com.