FRENCH CREEK, W.Va. — Get ready for an early spring, West Virginia! French Creek Freddie called for warmer temperatures during his annual Groundhog Day celebration at the West Virginia State Wildlife Center in Upshur County.
Trevor Moore, a wildlife biologist for the center, says he'd bank on Freddie, whose predictions are right half the time.
"When it comes to predicting the weather, Freddie’s a pro,” Moore said.
“Freddie couldn’t wait to come out of his burrow to spend his special day with fans and hopes everyone will come back and visit him this spring and summer to help him celebrate the Wildlife Center’s 100th anniversary."
According to tradition, early spring can be expected if the skies are cloudy and a groundhog doesn’t see its shadow. Six more weeks of winter can be expected if the skies are clear and a groundhog returns to its burrow after getting spooked by seeing its shadow.
In the past 40 years, Freddie’s forecasts have been accurate about 50 percent of the time. Freddie predicted an extended winter in 2022.
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. Regular hours and admission go into effect in April. To learn more about the Wildlife Center and for directions, visit WVdnr.gov/west-Virginia-wildlife-center