Shubenacadie Sam, Nova Scotia’s most famous groundhog, apparently saw her shadow Thursday morning as she emerged from a snow-covered enclosure at a wildlife park north of Halifax.
According to folklore, if a groundhog sees its shadow on Groundhog Day, winter will drag on. However, if they don’t spot their shadow, spring-like weather will soon arrive.
Just after 8 a.m. local time, the door to Sam’s pint-sized barn was opened, and she slowly backed out into the cold.
The annual tradition at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, broadcast live on Facebook, has been closed to visitors for the past two years because of COVID-19 gathering restrictions — and the in-person festivities were cancelled in 2020 because of a storm.
But a small crowd, including a gaggle of children, braved the -14 C weather this morning.
As expected, Sam was the first groundhog in North America to make a prediction — thanks to the Atlantic time zone.
In Wiarton, Ont., the community’s celebrity groundhog, Wiarton Willie, is also expected to make an appearance later this morning.
Willie’s hosts in South Bruce Peninsula say the groundhog is once again white-furred as per local legend, after town spokeswoman Danielle Edwards says it brought in an “understudy” with a more traditional brown hue last year while it searched for a replacement.
Willie was nowhere to be seen on the momentous day in 2021 and the town only later acknowledged the furry forecaster had died, launching a search that ended this past summer when town says it was able to get a white-haired groundhog from Cleveland, Ohio.
In a playful and peer-reviewed study published by the American Meteorological Society, researchers out of Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., say groundhogs are “beyond a shadow of a doubt” no better than chance at prognosticating the arrival of spring.