Wiarton Willie predicts shorter winter

Wiarton Willie's handlers say the prognosticating groundhog has predicted an early spring.

The mayor of Wiarton, Ont., and Premier Doug Ford were among the officials on stage when the announcement was made.

 Folklore has it that if a groundhog sees its shadow on Groundhog Day, it will retreat into its burrow, heralding six more weeks of cold weather. But spring-like temperatures are thought to be on the way if no shadow is seen.

 Willie was backed up by the most famous American groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.

 But Shubenacadie Sam, Nova Scotia's Groundhog Day darling, grudgingly clambered out of his shelter just after dawn, saw his shadow, and retreated into hiding

 The human weather experts say the odd ritual has a terrible record when it comes to predicting the weather.