While above-average temperatures have continued for the latter part of January after a brutal cold snap, the spring-like temperatures may be coming to an end during the first week of February.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is forecasting that there may be as much as a 14-degree temperature shift between today's high of seven degrees and next Tuesday which will see a high of minus seven degrees during the day. Cold evenings will also be coming back during the first week of February, with Monday evening being the coldest at minus 14.

While the weekend will still see temperatures above zero, there is likely to be rain on Saturday, with a mix of snow in the evening.

The shift in the forecast also means that many will be keenly anticipating what Groundhog Day will bring. On Friday, February 2, it is anticipated that beloved Prairie Prognosticator, Balzac Billy, will be emerging from his burrow shortly after 8 a.m. to predict whether winter will come to an abrupt end or not.

Although, last year Billy predicted an early Spring, this year, the Old Farmer's Almanac is predicting the Prairies will see a snowy and frigid start to February, with cold and flurries persisting till at least the middle of next month. The end of the month looks promising with milder temperatures, though the average temperature for next month will be approximately four degrees below average, with increased precipitation. 

Originally, Groundhog Day was birthed from superstition by the Pennsylvania Dutch community who believed that if a groundhog came out from its burrow on this day and saw its shadow in clear weather, scurrying back into its den, that meant six more weeks of winter. If a groundhog didn't see its shadow, the daises would be blooming soon. 

Balzac Billy will be making his annual appearance at the Blue Grass Garden Centre, CrossIron Mills at 8 a.m. on Friday, February 2. A free pancake breakfast will be hosted by the Airdrie Regional Chamber of Commerce from 7:00 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Other prolific groundhogs that will also be making their forecasts on that day include Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam, Ontario's groundhog, Willie Wiarton, as well as Billy's American colleague, Punxsutawney Phil down in Pennsylvania. 

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