French Creek Freddie emerges into the sunshine on Groundhog Day

FRENCH CREEK, W.Va. — Although Punxsutawney Phil declared early Friday morning there would be six more weeks of winter, most in West Virginia hang their hopes on the prediction of the Mountain State’s own groundhog prognosticator French Creek Freddie who doesn’t emerge from his burrow until 10 a.m.

“It was looking like we were going to have an early spring coming our way,” said West Virginia Wildlife Center Manager Tyler Evans. “It was 11 degrees and pretty overcast all morning but low and behold about 9:58 the clouds started to part and it was almost like the sun was coming out as the door of the crate was coming up.”

When Freddie emerged from his den, the sun shined brightly into the pen at the wildlife center in Upshur County and there was a shadow cast from the groundhog.

“The sun didn’t shine until right there at ten o’clock and I think it even went away after that,” said Evans. “I think that might be a bad omen.”

Freddie’s predictions in recent years have been quite accurate. He was hitting about 75 percent in recent years.

“He’s been not only about 75 percent accurate, but he’s also been about 75 percent optimistic because he’s been predicting a lot of early springs,” said Evans. “But he’s gotten into a pattern pf predicting long winters the last three years.”

West Virginians need to haul in more firewood and thrown another quilt on the bed, six more weeks of winter are headed our way.

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