Expect an early spring in Alberta as Balzac Billy did not see his shadow this morning.
On Groundhog Day, Balzac Billy emerges from his hole at Blue Grass Nursey and Garden Centre at sunrise, to try and find his shadow. If Balzac Billy sees his shadow it means another 6 weeks of winter but lucky enough, the prairie prognosticator predicted an early spring this morning. Over 400 people came out to Blue Grass to witness Billy awake from his hibernation - an event that has been a part of the Balzac community for 39 years.
"A lot of the old farm homesteads that are around here, we have some of the people that this is one of the things they come to every year," said Steve Neubauer, Event Coordinator with the Balzac Business Community Association. "We see a lot of familiar faces every year and new faces which is great." Neubauer said that the community loves coming out to enjoy the pancake breakfast, live music, and just enjoy the morning for one of Alberta's big annual announcements. "It's that community spirit that's been in Balzac for decades and that's what we built on. It originally started at the corner store." Since then the event has moved to Blue Grass to accommodate the large amount of people that always want to see or a get a picture with Alberta's favourite "groundhog".
Balzac Billy has been correct on his prediction for the past three years.
Environment Canada is expecting mild conditions to continue into February in the Fort Saskatchewan region. Meterologist Dan Kulak says just like the summer and throughout this winter so far, this region has had some el nino type conditions. Kulak adds we may get some cold days, but generally February weather will be warmer then normal.