Ontarians can look forward to six more weeks of winter according to Wiarton Willie early this morning, also known as Ground Hog Day.
Not all the rodents are siding with Willie tho, two of Canada’s famed four-legged forecasters have made clashing weather predictions.
Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam is calling for an early spring while Ontario’s Wiarton Willie expects six more weeks of winter.
According to tradition, if the groundhog doesn’t see its shadow when it emerges from its burrow on Groundhog Day, an early spring is in store.
It was two against one on Tuesday, as Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, arguably the best-known weather predicting woodchuck, also predicted an early end to winter.
This year’s Groundhog Day festivities have already been marred by the death of Canada’s westerly prognosticator, Winnipeg Willow.
Groundhog Day celebrations have been cancelled in Manitoba due out of respect for Willow, who died last Friday at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.
Punxsutawney Phil noted Willow’s passing with his handlers saying they were surprised by news of the death of Phil’s colleague.
Nova Scotia’s Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines, who had the honour of releasing a curious Sam from his home, said he’s learned to trust the province’s rodent.
“I would say that he’s made some pretty accurate predictions over time, probably marginally on par with Environment Canada,” he said.
“We’ve come to rely on what he’s had to say.”
Meanwhile another big winter storm is heading towards the Sault for later tonight, it has been downgraded since yesterday with now up to 15cm expected in the Sault overnight and into tomorrow with some gusty winds. Forecasters were originally worried about this next storm stating that it could produce blizzard like conditions for the area and up to 35cm of snow was the call.
Willie might be right though, colder weather will settle in for much of the week.
with files from the Canadian Press