6 more weeks of winter?


UPDATE: 6:35 a.m.

Officials declared a longer winter after Wiarton Willie emerged from his den just after 8 a.m.

This year was the first for the young rodent, which replaced the previous Willie, who died last September.

Meanwhile, Nova Scotia's famed Shubenacadie Sam had another prediction.

Sam waddled out of his fenced pen about 8 a.m. local time and wandered around, a sign he was predicting an early end to winter.

Fans looked on and let out loud cheers as Sam, who lives at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, scampered around the snowy grounds on what was the 30th anniversary of his annual weather prediction.

UPDATE: 6:20 a.m.

Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog foresees no early end to winter.

The handlers of Punxsutawney Phil said the furry rodent has called for six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow at dawn Friday.

The top hat-wearing members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's Inner Circle reveal Phil's forecast every Feb. 2. It is based on a German legend surrounding Candlemas. The legend says if a furry rodent casts a shadow that day, winter continues. If not, spring comes early.

Thousands of people gathered overnight to await the forecast, bundled up against the cold and entertained by folk music and a fireworks display, with temperatures around 11 degrees (minus-12 Celsius).

The groundhog's prediction is typically contained in a short poem.

"Up early this morning. Far from home. Are you searching for the Phil-osopher's stone? Well, even my best friends, they don't know. Is it an early spring or just more snow," the proclamation read. "My faithful followers, your hands (and my paws) are getting cold so here is my forecast. Not lead, but solid gold: I see my royal Shadow! Six more weeks of Winter to go!"

ORIGINAL: midnight

Is spring ever coming?

If it feels like you've been here before, maybe it's because today is Groundhog Day – a day when we eagerly wait to see if a furry rodent sees its shadow, thus predicting the end of winter.

There isn't a lot of science behind the day, but in a nutshell, if the groundhog comes out of his hole and doesn't see his shadow, it will be an early spring. If the groundhog does sees its shadow, we will have six more weeks of winter.

The tradition dates back to old times.

Here in Canada, we have Balzac Billy's prediction in Balzac, Alta., Manitoba Merv in Stonewall, Man., Shubenacadie Sam in Shubenacadie, N.S., Wiarton Willie in Wiarton, Ont., and Fred la Marmotte in Val d'Espoir, Que.

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