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Groundhog Science: Wiarton Willie Predicts Early Spring

Wiarton Willie heralded the arrival of an early spring, aligning with forecasts from fellow animal meteorologists.

In Wiarton, Ontario, amid a throng of spectators on Friday morning, Willie communicated to South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Jay Kirkland that he detected no shadow, indicating an imminent spring.


This forecast was in agreement with those by Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia, Fred la marmotte in Quebec, and Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania.

However, Lucy the Lobster in Barrington, N.S., offered a contrary view, observing her shadow and thus forecasting “six more weeks of wonderful winter.”

Willie, a unique albino groundhog, shared his annual weather prediction at 8:07 a.m. ET. For this tradition, Willie is removed from his dwelling to discern the presence of his shadow, which guides his forecast.


Had Willie seen his shadow, it would have suggested a continuation of winter for another six weeks.

The town of Wiarton, home to roughly 1,900 residents along the Georgian Bay inlet, celebrates this event with an annual festival starting with a pancake breakfast and fireworks at 7 a.m. The festivities extend into Saturday, featuring a family event, curling bonspiel, chili cook-off, skating, a darts competition, and other activities.

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