With a massive winter storm, called the ‘Groundhog Day Storm’ by some, bearing down on the Northeastern U.S. and Southern Ontario, there was little doubt that Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, Ontario’s Wiarton Willie, and Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam, wouldn’t see their shadows.
According to folklore, if a groundhog comes out of it’s burrow on Groundhog Day and see’s it’s shadow, it will be startled and retreat back into it’s burrow. Six more weeks of winter will ensue.
If the groundhog pokes his head out on a cloudy day and isn’t startled by his shadow, he’ll come on out and spring will come earlier.
The Groundhog Day tradition originated in Pennsylvania. Immigrants from Germany brought with them traditions of badgers or bears as predictors of weather, and transferred the tradition to the groundhog.
Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil is the largest and most recognized of the Groundhog Day celebrations. However, other cities throughout the U.S and Canada also celebrate Ground Hog Day with their own groundhogs making local weather predictions.
On Groundhog Day 2011, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his tree stump home at dawn and “”He found that there was no shadow. So an early spring it will be,” according to Bill Deeley, president of a club that organizes the Punxsutawney Groundhog day celebration.
Canada’s best known groundhogs, Wille and Sam, also popped out of their burrows without seeing their shadows.
According to Stormfax.com, Phil has only been right 39% of the time… however, Mike Johnston, vice president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle, says that Phil is 100% accurate… Phil’s predictions are “not burdened by being site-specific”, he says – somewhere, in some part of the world, there will be an early spring.