FRENCH CREEK, W.Va. — West Virginia will be getting six more weeks of winter, French Creek Freddie predicted on Wednesday during a Groundhog Day celebration at the state’s Wildlife Center in Upshur County.
Freddie, the state’s most popular weather-predicting groundhog, came out of hibernation on Wednesday to provide his annual forecast to fans and followers in attendance.
“Freddie was happy he could celebrate his special day with friends this year and is ready to nestle back in his burrow for a few more weeks of winter,” said Trevor Moore, wildlife biologist for the West Virginia State Wildlife Center. “When spring arrives, Freddie hopes everyone will come back and visit him and enjoy a day at the Wildlife Center.”
According to tradition, six more weeks of winter can be expected if skies are clear and a groundhog returns to its burrow after getting spooked by seeing its shadow. If skies are cloudy and a groundhog doesn’t see its shadow, an early spring can be expected.
In the past 40 years, Freddie’s forecasts have been accurate 50 percent of the time. Freddie predicted an early spring in each of the last three years.
The West Virginia Wildlife Center in Upshur County is home to French Creek Freddie and nearly 30 different species of West Virginia mammals, birds and reptiles. The center is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., seven days a week through the end of March. Admission is free during this period. To learn more about the Wildlife Center and for directions, visit wvdnr.gov/west-virginia-wildlife-center.