And the rodent has spoken...
Willie, Sam and Phil agree - North America faces six more weeks of
WIARTON, Ont. -
The deep freeze felt right across the country this winter isn't about to end any
time soon, according to some famous prognosticating groundhogs.
A groan arose from a large crowd gathered in Wiarton, Ont., to hear Wiarton Willie's
prediction when the furry forecaster made it known there would be six more weeks
It was clearly not the answer the crowd of about 200 people, some
wearing groundhog noses or carrying signs pledging love for Willie, wanted to
hear. There were a few cheers at the prospect of a long winter, but most people
looked disappointed - and cold - and then shuffled off to work on a Monday
He emerged from his den just after 8 a.m. ET and saw his shadow,
which according to groundhog lore, means more winter is in store.
Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam also saw his shadow Monday morning. The groundhog was roused by a town crier and the skirl of bagpipes at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, about an hour north of Halifax.
Had they not cast a shadow, as has been the case for Willie the previous four years, it would have signalled an early spring.
No such luck this year, said Mac McKenzie, who founded the
Wiarton Willie Festival 53 years ago. He said Willie's never wrong.
"Not Wiarton Willie," said McKenzie, 82. "He always is bang on - and I use the
expression bang on loosely, but that's the way it is."
He said he can't argue with the groundhog's gift of foresight, but wishes the pronouncement had been different.
"This has been the worst winter we've had in years," McKenzie said. "Snow, snow and more snow. So we want less snow next year.
Sam and Willie's U.S. cousin, Punxsutawney Phil, also predicted six more
weeks of winter when he stepped into the Pennsylvania sunlight.
His forecast was announced in front of thousands of revellers gathered at Gobbler's Knob, about 100 kilometres northeast of Pittsburgh.
German tradition holds that if a hibernating animal casts a shadow Feb. 2 - the Christian holiday of Candlemas - winter would last another six weeks. If no shadow was seen, legend said spring would come early.
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