Wiarton Willie predicts early spring, others forecast more winter
Published Saturday, February 2, 2013 7:21AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 2, 2013 11:26PM EST
Groundhogs throughout Canada are split in their spring predictions, with some shadows suggesting six more weeks of winter while others have forecasted an early spring.
Canada’s most celebrated groundhog, Wiarton Willie, is predicting an early end to this year’s erratic winter weather after the creature failed to see its shadow Saturday morning.
Hundreds bundled up to watch Willie emerge from its burrow in Bruce Country, Ont.
“No cloud, no confusing sunshine ray shall fool this icon of Canada,” said one event participant, dressed in a historic costume. “The tension is high. Will this spring be swimsuits or snowbirds?”
According to folklore, if a groundhog sees its shadow on Groundhog Day, it will scurry back to its burrow, signalling six more weeks of winter. If there’s no shadow, it means spring is just around the corner.
Manitoba's lesser known groundhog, Winnipeg Willow, seemed to agree with Willie. The critter also failed to see her shadow when she emerged Saturday morning, meaning she believes spring is right around the corner.
But not all were on board with spring’s early arrival.
On the East Coast, those hoping some warmer weather ahead were disappointed after Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam, the first to make the yearly prediction worldwide via webcam, saw its shadow, signalling plenty of more winter weather ahead.
The same went for Quebec’s groundhog, Fred, who forecasted another month-and-a-half of winter weather.
In Pennsylvania, U.S. forecasting legend Punxsutawney Phil sided with Willie in predicting warmer temperatures are near, after failing to see his shadow.