Monday, February 3rd 2020, 11:28 am - A lot of hopes are riding on these tiny, furry shoulders.
Historic snowfall. Record-smashing cold. Winter has been in high gear for the first month of 2020 across much of Canada, and that has many Canadians asking an age-old question:
Will spring be here soon?
Groundhog Day 2020 puts the answer to that question in the tiny hands of furry prognosticators across Canada and the U.S. as we turn to everyone's favourite forecasting rodents to find out if we're in for an early taste of spring, or if it will be better to hibernate through the next six weeks.
The holiday is a popular tradition celebrated in North America on February 2. According to folklore, if the groundhog sees its shadow, it will be scared and return to its burrow. That translates to a forecast of six more weeks of winter on the way. Under cloudy skies, the groundhog stays out to visit, suggesting we'll see an early spring.
Not unlike their human counterparts, the marmot meteorologists don't always agree on the forecast, but there does seem to be a distinct leader. Below, we've collected the predictions from many of the continent's prominenent weather woodchucks.
Shubenacadie Sam says: 6 MORE WEEKS
Who could have called this, it has cleared after the storm allowing for a shadow! I predict 6 more weeks of winter! #SamCam #ShubieWildlife #GroundhogDay2020Shubenacadie Sam on Twitter
Sam's celebrations were snowed out this year, but the fearless forecaster still made his 2020 prediction via social media.
Wiarton Willie says: EARLY SPRING
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 #WiartonWiarton Willie on Twitter
Willie's team initially announced 6 more weeks, but were quickly corrected by the pint-sized prognosticator.
Fred la marmotte says: EARLY SPRING
Image courtesy TVCGR.
Reporting live from Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula, Fred called for a longer winter in 2019.
Punxsutawney Phil says: EARLY SPRING
It's official an early spring! #GroundhogDay2020Dave Kile on Twitter
One of the biggest and most famous celebrations in North America, Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil was #TeamEarlySpring last year, too.
OTHER VOTES FROM ACROSS CANADA
It's not just the natural fur-bearers who weigh in on Canada's chances for an early spring.
Manitoba Merv says: EARLY SPRING
Manitoba Merv sees no shadow this morning at Oak Hammock Marsh. An early spring is on the way!Oak Hammock Marsh on Twitter
Balzac Billy says: EARLY SPRING
BalzacBilly says it's an early spring! @bluegrasscgy #GroundhogDay #yyc #Calgary #BalzacBlueSphere on Twitter
Neither the Manitoba puppet nor the Alberta mascot saw their shadows on the Prairies last year.
Lucy the Lobster says: 6 MORE WEEKS
It's official!! I saw my Shadow this morning! 6 more weeks of winter on Nova Scotia's beautiful South Shore!! @LobsterCrawl @KalinMitchelCTV @VisitNovaScotia @VisitBarrington @LucyLobster on Twitter
Nova's Scotia's Lucy said the "SHELLebration" would go on as scheduled on Sunday, even though her counterpart, Sam, had to bow out this year.
The Weather Network's own long-range legend, Dr. Doug Gillham, will share his take on what the groundhogs have to say -- and his thoughts on the rest of winter -- on Monday, but here's a sneak peek at what he's thinking.
Early spring vs 6 more weeks of winter - aren't those 2 options saying the same thing?? 6 weeks takes us to March 15; If consistent spring weather starts mid-March isn't that an early spring in Canada?Doug Gillham on Twitter