Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog Day 2013

I woke up this morning to sunshine and birdsong. Enough to almost make me believe its spring, and not only the first of February. I did not see my shadow and run back into my burrow of blankets. (kev did tho, pushing our morning run back to a lunch time one)

But more important than if I saw my shadow this morning, Groundhogs all across North America were anxiously watched to see if they saw theirs. Here's some of the predictions as they come in on the very sunny Groundhog Day.

In the 1993 movie, Billy Murray headed to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to see what Punxsutawney Phill was predicting about the end of winter. This year, the States most celebrated weatherhog is calling for an early spring, and did not see his shawdow.

In Canada however, there are groundhogs across the country making predictions today. Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam and Quebec's Fred the groundhog both saw their shadows, and dashed back into their burrows calling for six more weeks of winter. Winnipeg's Willow on the other hand, like Phil senses an early spring in the air.

But since I'm an Ontario girl originally, and since he's considered to be the most accurate, I'll go with Wairton Willie, who is also calling for an early spring.

Although there have been a couple of Willie's over the years, he's always a rare albino groundhog, which adds an extra air of mystery to his weather predicting powers (image source). To see him make his prediction this year, you can do to the CTV news website, although its more just costumed Wiarton city officials parading around, and less what Willie is actually doing in his cage.

As for how the mighty groundhog is supposed to make these predictions, if he emerges from his burrow on a cloudy day, no shadow and bring on the spring. If there's a bright winter sun, then certainly this should mean 6 more weeks of winter. Now varied sources make claims of the hog's accuracy, some saying up to 90% correct. I however would like to point out that 6 weeks from Feb 2nd only brings us to March 16, which in my experience in Canada, is most certainly always still winter. And while today may feel like spring here in Calgary, I'll have to thank a Chinook for that, rather than Willie or Willow or Phill!

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