Longer winter or an early spring? Groundhogs make 2020 predictions


In the midst of a winter season that has brought record-breaking snowfall, intense ice storms and frigid temperatures, Canadians across the country were waiting with bated breath on Sunday to see what a few furry rodents have to say about when they can expect some reprieve.

Every Feb. 2, a select few groundhogs are woken weeks before they would wake naturally from hibernation to predict the weather.

According to a centuries-old legend, if the groundhog sees its shadow, it will return to its burrow, indicating six more weeks of winter.

READ MORE: Troops arrive in Newfoundland to assist after historic blizzard

If the groundhog doesn’t retreat into hiding, spring will come early.

The Groundhog Day tradition is celebrated across the country and in the United States.

Here is a list of some prognosticating groundhogs and what each said about when spring will arrive.

Shubenacadie Sam

Shubenacadie Sam lives at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park in Nova Scotia.

Living on the east coast, Sam is the first rodent to make a prediction in Canada on Groundhog Day.

Normally, the park hosts a special event on Feb. 2 to celebrate Groundhog Day, however, this year it was cancelled due to weather concerns.

But the weather didn’t stop Sam from making his prediction.

Who could have called this, it has cleared after the storm allowing for a shadow! I predict 6 more weeks of winter! #SamCam #ShubieWildlife #GroundhogDay2020 pic.twitter.com/7dTn0ZQ347

— Shubenacadie Sam (@ShubenacadieSam) February 2, 2020

“Who could have called this, it has cleared after the storm allowing for a shadow!” a tweet from Sam early Sunday morning reads.  “I predict 6 more weeks of winter!”

READ MORE: Marmot meteorologist or furry fraud? How accurate are Groundhog Day predictions

Wiarton Willie

Wiarton Willie is a prognosticating groundhog who lives in the town of South Bruce Peninsula in Ontario.

According to his website, he is the “most famous groundhog in Canada and the only albino weather prognosticator in the world.”

Each year the town of South Bruce Peninsula holds a week-long festival which draws thousands of visitors to celebrate Willie’s prediction.

3:53Wiarton Willie groundhog predicts early spring after hilarious mix-up Wiarton Willie groundhog predicts early spring after hilarious mix-up

This year Willie predicted it will be an early spring.

“With cloudy skies and snow falling upon us this morning in #Wiarton it was very hard to find my shadow – even with all the camera lights around!” he wrote in a tweet. “Fans of spring rejoice, an #EarlySpring is around the corner.”

Well folks, my prediction is #official. With cloudy skies and snow falling upon us this morning in #Wiarton it was very hard to find my shadow – even with all the camera lights around! Fans of spring rejoice, an #EarlySpring is around the corner. #WiartonWillie #Wiarton pic.twitter.com/VEohypsXuU

— Wiarton Willie (@willieofficial) February 2, 2020

1:47Groundhog frenzy sweeps North America Groundhog frenzy sweeps North America

Fred la Marmotte

Fred la Marmotte is the official groundhog of Quebec, and lives in the town of Val-d’Espoir in the Perce region of the province.

He and his father have been making predictions on the arrival of spring since 2010.

This year Fred predicted spring will come early.

READ MORE: Groundhog Day — Why we carry on with the tradition

Winnipeg Wynn

Winnipeg Wynn lives at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitiation Centre (PWRC) in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Wyn was taken in by staff at PWRC in 2016.

Now, she predicts when spring will come, but not how the other groundhogs do.

Staff at the rehab centre staff predict seasonal change by observing Wynn over time and understanding her behaviours.

Early Sunday morning, Wynn predicted an early spring.

Manitoba Merv

Meanwhile, Manitoba Merv made his prognostication at the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre north of Winnipeg.

The puppet is on team early spring.

Manitoba Merv sees no shadow this morning at Oak Hammock Marsh. An early spring is on the way! pic.twitter.com/YQc1oxpcOj

— Oak Hammock Marsh (@OakHammockMarsh) February 2, 2020

Balzac Billy

While groundhogs can be found in woodlands across Canada and the United States, in Alberta, they are limited to Peace River Country.

The furry critters are not known to live in the southern part of the province.

0:44Will Balzac Billy see his shadow? Will Balzac Billy see his shadow?

So, lacking a real groundhog, Alberta uses Balzac Billy — which is a person in a groundhog costume — to predict when spring will come.

The “Prairie Prognosticator” agreed with the majority, predicting that spring will arrive early.

Punxsutawney Phil

South of the border, in the American state of Pennsylvania, lives another prognosticating groundhog.

Each year on Groundhog Day, a festival is held and Punxsutawney Phil — named after his home town — makes his prediction.

3:03Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow, predicts early spring Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow, predicts early spring

This year Phil predicted spring will come early. Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog on Sunday declared: “Spring will be early, it’s a certainty.”Phil gained international celebrity after he was featured in the 1993 film Groundhog Day.
3:23Groundhog Day 2019: Punxsutawney Phil predicts early spring Groundhog Day 2019: Punxsutawney Phil predicts early spring
—With a file from The Associated Press

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