Watch above: Groundhog Day proved controversial when rodents contradicted each other on the timing of spring to Canada. Aaron Streck finds out whether or not people take the predictions seriously and why.
SASKATOON – Ontario’s Wiarton Willie woke up today and did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring. Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam emerged from his burrow and saw his, meaning six more weeks of winter.
A more accurate prognostication was made in Saskatoon but not by a groundhog. The Forestry Farm Park and Zoo has prairie dogs but even they didn’t want to poke their heads out Monday.
“Usually one of the first burrowing animals that you see coming out are the Richardson’s ground squirrels, there’ll be some snow on the ground in late March and they’ll start coming out, once you see them you know spring is right here,” said John Moran, the manager of the zoo.
While Willie was bang on last year spotting his shadow, it’s a toss up this Groundhog Day.
The weather has been proven to affect ones psyche. Depending on the prediction, Groundhog Day can give a much needed lift.
“It definitely brings a lot of hope, I think any time we go into February, February is always a short month, quick month and I think once you get past January and hearing only six more weeks of winter it does, just gives that hope that we’re almost through it,” said registered psychologist Danielle McFadyen.
No matter how you look at it, we’re coming down the home stretch to spring. But until the snow melts and it starts to warm up again, like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, every day could feel like the one before.
“It is real easy to just get caught in a cycle and day in and day out waiting for spring to come, if anything, if we do get a bit of a reprieve or even when it is colder out but it’s nice and bright and sunny today get out as much as you can and try and make the most of it and not get stuck in those routines,” said McFadyen.
Environment Canada foresees a colder than normal February across the country but Global Saskatoon’s Meteorologist Peter Quinlan predicts a February similar to January.
“Spring is a little bit of a tougher one to predict in Saskatoon and in Saskatchewan because it really doesn’t hit, we don’t really get those warmer temperatures sometimes until the middle of May,” said Quinlan.
It’s a tradition that’s been around for generations, which groundhog has the right prognostication this year? Only time will tell.
The Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo used to have a groundhog in the 90’s and early 2000’s but it wasn’t used to predict spring time.