It was almost unanimous, but Alberta’s Balzac Billy has gone against his Canadian and American counterparts in forecasting six more weeks of winter.
The man-sized mascot popped out of a large dirt pile at an event just north of Calgary at 8:15 Friday morning wearing sunglasses and carrying a snowbrush.
Billy’s prognostication contradicts real-life groundhogs Wiarton Willie, Punxsutawney Phil, Atlantic Canada’s Shubenacadie Sam and Fred Jr. in Quebec, who all failed to see a shadow after emerging from their burrows — foretelling of an early spring.
Confusing as it might be, Friday’s prediction follows a fifth-straight day, Thursday, where new daily maximum temperatures were set across parts of the province and our region.
The mercury in the Crowsnest Pass reached 12.7 degrees Celsius, beating the old mark of 9.3 achieved three years ago. The warm spell also saw the thermometer shoot up at the Waterton Park weather station to 14.3, surpassing the 10.9-degree record established in 2020. Pincher Creek’s peak at 14.0 was just over three degrees better than 2021’s 10.7.
That might be where the record-setting temperatures end, at least for highs, however after Environment Canada issued a Winter Storm Watch just before sunrise Friday morning, for areas just east of the mountains.
“In the far southwest corner of the province, rain is expected to develop Saturday morning with amounts of 10 to 20 mm. The rain will then transition to snow in the afternoon.”
The watch includes a forecast of between 15 and 30 cm of snow on the ground by Sunday afternoon.
“Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow,” the weather statement added.
It also recommends avoiding travel, where possible, during the heaviest snowfall.
For the record, there was one other dissenting vote for an early spring — Barrington, Nova Scotia’s Lucy the Lobster also saw her shadow Friday morning.
But then, again, who’s ever heard of a crustacean predicting the weather … that’s just silly