Groundhog Day is only eight days away and with the recently balmy temperatures that Airdrie residents have been experiencing after a brutal cold snap, all eyes will be on Balzac Billy next Friday.
Although last year Billy predicted that spring would arrive early, this year's predictions from the Farmer's Almanac do not bode well for an early end to winter.
The Farmer's Almanac has predicted that the Prairies will see a snowy and frigid start to next month, with cold and flurries persisting till at least the middle of February. 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.
More short-term forecasts for the end of January in Airdrie are predicting a slight cooling. Temperatures next week will be slightly below the monthly average of -2.5 degrees Celsius, but there are no indications of extremely cold temperatures to end this month. Groundhog Day is expected to be near minus 1 during the day, with a mix of sun and cloud.
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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