Hoping for an early spring? Wiarton Willie's prediction says you're in luck

This year's Groundhog Day forecast was officially announced at 8:07 a.m. ET Thursday from Wiarton, Ont., but Willie wasn't the only four-legged prognosticator with a view on how the weather will fare in the coming weeks.

Ontario's weather forecasting groundhog weighs in on how things may look for the weeks ahead

A man in purple garb looks at a groundhog in a plexiglass box.
South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Garry Michi looks at Wiarton Willie in a Plexiglas box during the annual Groundhog Day event in Wiarton, Ont., on Thursday, Feb.2, 2023. Ontario's Wiarton Willie has called for an early spring. (Doug Ball/The Canadian Press)

If you're hoping to pack away your winter coat sooner rather than later, there's good news. 

Wiarton Willie, Ontario's weather forecasting rodent, predicted an early spring on Thursday when he didn't see his shadow. 

This year's Groundhog Day forecast was officially announced at 8:07 a.m. ET from Wiarton in the South Bruce Peninsula.

Crowds gathered in freezing temperatures to see if the famous Willie would see his shadow — and what that means for the weeks ahead. Wiarton Willie whispers into the mayor's ears to make his report. 

"I think many people are really happy, quite honestly, because it's cold here today," said Danielle Edwards, manager of economic development for the town of South Bruce Peninsula. "Hopefully Willie is correct and we're going to see an early spring." 

On Feb. 2 each year, eyes turn to Wiarton Willie to see if he'll see his shadow — meaning six more weeks of winter — or no shadow, predicting an early spring. This year marks 67 years of the tradition.

"People were super pumped. It's been two years since we've been able to gather together for a live prediction because of the pandemic, so I think people were just very excited to get out and celebrate live in person," said Edwards. 

Shubenacadie Sam, Punxsutawney Phil predict long winter

But Willie isn't the only four-legged weather prognosticator.

In Nova Scotia, beloved groundhog Schubenacadie Sam saw his shadow, a prediction of six more weeks of winter. 

In Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil also saw his shadow, gearing up for a long winter ahead. 

Last year, Groundhog Day predictions clashed between Wiarton Willie, which called for an early spring, and Shubenacadie Sam, which called for a long, cold winter.