Canada's furry weather forecasters ready to make their predictions

The Canadian Press

WIARTON, Ont. - It's Groundhog Day — the day people across North America turn to weather prognosticating rodents in the hope they'll call for an early spring.

Their handlers say Canada's three furry forecasters — Ontario's Wiarton Willie, Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam, and Manitoba's lesser known woodchuck, Winnipeg Willow — are ready to make their predictions.

In Wiarton, there is a three-day festival underway with concerts, ice carving and the highlight of Groundhog Day — prediction morning.

Shubencadie Sam — the first to be coming out of his burrow — will be making his prediction to a worldwide audience via webcam and also to his followers on Twitter.

Winnipeg Willow will visit a Mountain Equipment Co-op store to make her prediction, along with an American Kestrel.

Folklore has it that if a groundhog sees its shadow on Groundhog Day it'll flee to its burrow, heralding six more weeks of winter, and if it doesn't, it means spring's around the corner.

Stateside, Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil is generally regarded as the groundhog of record.