Town comes to Wiarton Willie's defence after complaints over chilly weather

WIARTON, Ont. - The central Ontario town best known as the home of Wiarton Willie is coming to the defence of its furry forecaster.

The Town of South Bruce Peninsula, which includes the community of Wiarton, has issued a statement saying Willie is "still a valued prognosticator" despite grumblings about the weather.

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The famous rodent did not see his shadow on Groundhog Day, indicating it would be an early spring, but some in his hometown complain the season isn't changing fast enough.

Mayor John Close says the weather has been normal for spring, but suggests residents' expectations are too high following last year's balmy March temperatures.

He says he felt compelled to speak out for Willie, who he considers a national icon, as well as his U.S. counterpart Punxatawney Phil.

The Pennsylvania groundhog came under fire this week when a lawyer threatened to take him to court over his inaccurate forecast, but the case was dropped shortly afterward.

Phil's handlers took the blame, saying they misinterpreted the woodchuck's signals.

A springtime snowstorm battered the central U.S. and the Mid-Atlantic states this week, leaving some under more snow than they'd seen all winter.


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