|Hundreds of people braved the cold as the spotlight was on Wiarton Willie Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 in Wiarton. JAMES MASTERS/QMI Agency
That's according to Wiarton Willie, Winnipeg Willow and Balzac Billy.
The groundhogs from Ontario, Winnipeg and Alberta didn't their shadows Saturday morning.
According to folklore, if the famous rodents see their shadows, another six weeks of winter weather is ahead. No shadow means spring is near.
“With the unpredictable weather and, just this week alone, wild weather, hot and cold, the focus will be on Willie nationwide,” Leigh Grigg, a spokeswoman for the Wiarton Willie Festival in Ontario, told QMI Agency before the prediction came at 8:07 a.m. (ET). The three-day festival is in its 57th year.
Alberta's Balzac Billy, who isn't a real rodent but someone dressed as a groundhog, also called for an early spring.
And Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous weather-predicting rodent in the U.S., didn't see his shadow either, ABC News reported.
"And so ye faithful, there is no shadow to see, an early spring for you and me," proclaimed Bob Roberts, one of Phil's handlers.
Punxsutawney, the Pennsylvania town that Phil calls home, has been carrying on the tradition of Groundhog Day since the 1800s, according to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. ABC News says that ever since the tradition began in 1887, Phil (and his ancestors) saw their shadows 99 times, while predicting an early spring only 16 times. There was no record for nine of the years.
But Shubenacadie Sam, the celebrity groundhog christened after a small community in central Nova Scotia, begged to differ. He predicted six more weeks of winter.
Media reports say Sam popped his head out of his pen early Saturday morning, saw his shadow and scurried off to a hollowed out tree stump.
Minutes later, he tweeted: "I saw my shadow. Embrace the winter."
-- with files from Denis Langlois