Willie disagrees with colleagues, predicts six more weeks of winter
Published Tuesday, February 2, 2016 5:36AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 2, 2016 3:18PM EST
Wiarton Willie went against several of his fellow rodent weather predictors and called for another six weeks of winter after seeing his shadow Tuesday morning.
Willie was the centre of attention as his hometown celebrated the 60th anniversary of its Groundhog Day festival.
Willie made his prediction at 8:07 Tuesday morning. Last year he predicted an early spring.
In Nova Scotia, Shubenacadie Sam did not see his shadow and therefore called for an early spring. Sam is the earliest riser among Canada's groundhogs.
South of the border, Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil also didn't see his shadow, predicting an early spring.
According to tradition, if the groundhog sees its shadow when it emerges from its burrow there will be six more weeks of winter.
However, science may not be on Willie's side.
"Spring has been here from the get-go," David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, said as the four-legged forecasters awoke. "We've just not had a winter."
Normal-to-warm temperatures are expected for February, with even balmier weather over the next few months.
But Phillips added that Willie's prediction may reflect the weather in the Great Lakes region, which has a different micro-climate than the rest of Ontario.
Plus, it's not unusual to have differing forecasts, even among meteorologists, he says, "You're never going to have consensus."
With files from the Canadian Press