With a Winter like this, Who needs an Early Spring?

It’s the halfway point of Winter and superstitious types might be waiting for a prediction from their favourite Marmota monax meteorologist in order to plan for an early or late Spring. It’s Groundhog Day and Canadians have no less than three rodents to rely upon; Shubenacadie Sam out in Nova Scotia, Wiarton Willie stationed in Southern Ontario and Blazac Billy reporting from Alberta. It’s fair to say that most people don’t even trust the professionals to predict the weather – Environment Canada climatologists reversed their own Winter forecast just yesterday from cold and frosty to unseasonably warm – so how did Groundhogs get tasked with it?

The North American tradition, a Pennsylvania German custom reportedly dates back to the mid 19th century, the famed Punxsutawney Phil carrying on the legacy. The European immigrants were most likely carrying on weather lore observations, some of which may be Pagan in origin. With cloudy conditions in the eastern part of the country, Sam and Willie failed to see their shadow and so it looks like we’ll be enjoying early blooms. Of course the outcome is already at odds with Phil who saw his shadow in sunny Pennsylvania. When the furry forecasters see their shadow they supposedly scurry back into their burrows to wait out six more chilly weeks.

So the forecast is inconclusive. What’s new? Just like the premise of the 1993 film Groundhog Day, which epitomized Phil and the Punxsutawney ritual, it’s déjà vu.

-Tara Losinski