PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – America’s most famous groundhog emerged from his burrow early on Saturday and declared that winter will last another six weeks.
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow shortly before 7:30 a.m. to the cheers of more than 30,000 people from as far away as Alaska and Texas, one of the largest crowds in the 122-year history of the event in the central Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney.
Canada’s two foremost weather predictors said on Saturday that we’re in for an early spring. But their U.S. cousin saw his shadow and headed back into his burrow to hunker down for another six more weeks of winter.
Canada’s first rodent of winter predictions, Shubenacadie Sam from Nova Scotia, emerged from his pen Saturday at 7 a.m. ET to the sound of bagpipes and a town crier but no shadow, just rain and a crowd of around 50 people who began to celebrate the coming spring.
Because of Nova Scotia’s time zone, Sam made the first groundhog prediction in Canada.
But by 8 a.m. ET fellow Canadian groundhog Wiarton Willie of Ontario came out and on failing to see his shadow confirmed his compatriots prediction of an early spring.
With Punxsutawney Phil at odds with Shubenacadie Sam and Wiarton Willie, tensions mounted, and statesmen on both sides of the border called for negotiations so that differences could be worked out. Reaction in the states was mixed. Some sided with the Canadians, including members of the military. From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Georgia’s own General Beauregard Lee at 7:58 a.m. today stubbornly emerged from his Lilburn abode but didn’t see his shadow, leading the more than 250 people who witnessed the event to expect an early spring.
The Republicans in Congress immediately introduced a bill that would change the name of Canadian bacon to Freedom bacon in the cafeterias. Crawford Chimpy was yanked from his
bubble ass burrow by Dick Cheney, saw his shadow, was frightened by it, and called for Canada to be bombed immediately.