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French Creek Freddie predicts early spring for West Virginia

FRENCH CREEK, W.VA. — French Creek Freddie, West Virginia’s famous weather-prognosticating groundhog, has predicted an early spring for the Mountain State.

Freddie made his prediction Tuesday morning during a private ceremony in his home at the WV State Wildlife Center. This year’s Groundhog Day Celebration was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“Freddie wishes he could have celebrated his special day with all his friends this year, but he’s in high spirits and hopes an early spring will encourage folks to visit him at the Wildlife Center soon,” said Trevor Moore, WVDNR wildlife biologist.

According to tradition, an early spring can be expected if Freddie doesn’t see his shadow, which is a result of an overcast sky on Groundhog Day. After more than 40 years of making Groundhog Day predictions, Freddie is correct about 50 percent of the time. This is the second year in a row he has called for an early spring.

“Freddie might be predicting an early spring, but don’t put your coats and mittens away just yet because there’s still plenty of time to get out and enjoy beautiful winter scenery here in West Virginia,” said Zack Brown, WVDNR assistant chief of operations.

The West Virginia Wildlife Center is home to French Creek Freddie and nearly 30 different native and introduced animal species. The 338-acre facility remains open to visitors with extra precautions for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., seven days a week through the end of March. Admission is free during this period. For more information, visit wvdnr.gov/wildlife/wildlifecenter.shtm.