Is spring in the air? Ask a groundhog! These 7 amazing weather-predicting marmots are famed far and wide for prognosticating on the prospect of an early spring.
(image via: National Geographic)
Leading the pack of weather-prognosticating groundhogs is the one, the only and the original meteorological marmot, Punxsutawney Phil! Since 1887, Phil has promulgated a total of 116 predictions of which only a surprising 16 indicated an early spring. So, how’s he doing? On the whole, Pennsylvania’s radiant rodent has scored a somewhat lamentable 39% accuracy rate. Phil Connors could probably do better – or Phil Collins for that matter.
Speaking of weathermen in Punxsutawney PA, expect the iconic Bill Murray comedy film “Groundhog Day” to hit the nation’s TV screens on or around February 2nd – again – and be sure to tune in if you can’t join the happy throngs in person at good old Gobbler’s Knob.
The film Groundhog Day was NOT shot on location in Punxsutawney. Instead, the equally charming hamlet of Woodstock, Illinois subbed for the Pennsylvania burg and like a groundhog who’s sunk his teeth into something tasty, Woodstockians aren’t letting go. For two decades, the town has put on its own groundhog festival featuring its own groundhog: Woodstock Willie – no connection with that Nelson character. Woodstock isn’t shy about celebrating its feature film connection either, having mounted a bronze plaque where Phil Connors repeatedly stepped in that doozy of a puddle.
If having multiple groundhogs giving conflicting weather reports on Groundhog Day is confusing, having multiple weather-forecasting woodchucks named Willie is positively head-spinning! Regardless, Woodstock Willie’s Canadian rival, Wiarton Willie, has no plans to cease the February 2nd prediction’s he’s been promulgating since the early 1980s. All Wiarton Willies (there have been at least two or three) are albino woodchucks with fur as white as the driven snow, of which there’s quite a lot of in Wiarton in early February.
(image via: Raincoaster)
The town of Wiarton has exploited Willie to the max, organizing the annual weekend Wiarton Willie Festival that can trace its origins back to 1956. While you’re in wonderful Wiarton, be sure to check out the Wiarton Willie statue in Wiarton’s Bluewater Park.