California may not have Punxsutawney Phil, but we’ve got our very own weather oracle – and her name is Mojave Maxine, a desert tortoise residing at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert. Forget the animatronic puppet; Maxine is the real deal, famous for her winter predictions that add a touch of whimsy to our weather forecasts. For over a decade, Maxine has been sharing her seasonal insights through a simple yet charming process. Around Thanksgiving, she enters a state called brumation, where reptiles become a bit sluggish or take a break during colder weather. Maxine takes an extended chill period until around this time, emerging from her burrow with the arrival of warmer days. While Punxsutawney Phil saw its shadow today, hinting at six more weeks of winter, Maxine has a different take. She’s snugly tucked in her burrow, a sign, according to lore, that we can expect more chilly weather ahead. It’s a delightful instance of different species reaching a consensus on the winter outlook! To add to the excitement, K-12 students are invited to guess when Maxine will make her grand appearance. Usually, it happens from late January to early February, and the zoo has even set up a live webcam of Maxine’s burrow for those with boundless patience. Currently, it might look like a dark hole, but who knows – could that be some movement? Well, maybe just the wind. Keep monitoring for the grand emergence of our weather-predicting tortoise extraordinaire!