It was, perhaps, the most riveting animal drama to hit the Internet since the #MPRRaccoon scaled a skyscraper in Minnesota.
Swatara Creek, which flows into the Susquehanna River, was swollen to 16.19 feet as of Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service — far past its flood stage of seven feet.
It was one of several floods up and down the East Coast and throughout central Pennsylvania. Four miles from the stranded groundhog was the theme park Hersheypark, which was closed Wednesday because of the flooding.
Forecasters warned that days of rain could create more “life-threatening situations.” At least one woman near Harrisburg was swept away by floodwaters near Swatara Creek late Monday.
The groundhog, however, seemed nonchalant about the apparent peril all around. It stood on the fence, staring into the water below.
In an attempt to calm public outcry over the fate of the groundhog, Penn Live assured its readers that “it’s going to be okay.”
Turns out, groundhogs can swim.
“He is not stranded,” said Marcus Schneck, a nature writer for the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, told Penn Live. “He is taking a break before swimming wherever he wants. . . . He doesn’t need rescuing.”
But that didn’t stop hundreds of people online from clamoring for help.
Instead of filming, some said, the photographers who caught the groundhog in their sights should try to help the critter. Maybe an experienced kayaker could reach the animal and help it down, others said. One viewer even asked whether Bill Gates could intervene with “his yacht.”
At one point, the TV station, WGAL, responded, “We’re not going to send people into floodwaters and risk their lives.”
The cameras eventually stopped rolling, and the crews went home. The whereabouts of the groundhog are unknown.