When St. John's supposedly had too much fog to spot the groundhog

There was brief talk of a groundhog on The National on Feb. 2, 1979, but a lot more talk about fog.

In 1979, Newfoundland and Labrador capital had seen 15 days of fog in a row as of early February

Fog, but no groundhog

44 years ago
Duration 1:51
Lots of fog, but no groundhog in sight in St. John's on Groundhog Day in 1979.

The National's George McLean didn't wink when he introduced the final story on Groundhog Day in 1979.

But he gave the audience a sense that the story about to unfold wouldn't be so serious.

"We sent our reporter in Newfoundland, Paddy Gregg, to interview the traditional February the 2nd groundhog, the one that is supposed to tell us how much winter is left," said McLean.

"Unfortunately, they missed each other in the fog which has shrouded St. John's for the past two weeks."

15 days? Not a record in St. John's

The people living in St. John's had seen a lot of days like this in early 1979 -- 15 straight days of fog, in fact, as of Feb. 2, 1979. (The National/CBC Archives)

And after that, there was no further mention of any groundhog — as Gregg's report was all about the fog.

The Newfoundland capital had seen 15 consecutive days of fog, which that day was accompanied by drizzle.

"That's not a record," Gregg let viewers know. "Twenty days is the longest St. John's has ever endured, but the short-range forecast is such that a new record is a pretty good bet."

A fog alert system could be heard in the report.

The inclement weather had prevented Air Canada and Eastern Provincial Airlines from landing planes in St. John's for more than seven days. The fog had also slowed down mail delivery.

One advantage of fog, for sure

This man pointed out one obvious advantage of fog -- it wasn't something you had to shovel. (The National/CBC Archives)

Yet, as Gregg found out when he spoke to people on the street, there were some who saw a silver lining — even if they couldn't see much on the horizon.

"Wonderful, yeah," one man said. "You don't have to shovel it."

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