Like New Year’s Eve, Groundhog Day predictions don’t happen all at the same time – they sweep across North America in a wave of bucktoothed prophecies.
The earliest forecast in Canada on Tuesday comes from Shubenacadie Sam, in Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife park, at precisely 8 a.m. AT. Next up? Ontario’s famous Wiarton Willie (the Canadian answer to the U.S.’s famed Punxsutawney Phil – our Muhammad Ali to their George Foreman), followed by Alberta’s Balzac Billy.
In Wiarton’s Bluewater Park — Willie’s digging grounds — a whole week-long festival has evolved surrounding the town’s 56th Groundhog Day, including live entertainment, road hockey, fireworks, a “zero gravity circus” and something called “Wee Willie Idol.”
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So how accurate can a groundhog be?
To the more cynical among us it must seem unlikely that an animal could have the ability to predict the weather. The Canadian Encyclopedia notes that a study of weather data places the beasts’ accuracy north of the border at just under 40%, commenting dryly that “33% accuracy can occur by chance.” ...