Manitoba Merv, Winnipeg Wyn side with majority of forecasting groundhogs, predict early spring

Manitoba's resident fortune-telling groundhogs say winter is on its way out.

Clairvoyant rodents in Quebec, Ontario did not see shadows; Nova Scotia groundhog says 6 more weeks of winter

Manitoba Merv, the puppet brought out each year at Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre, said winter is almost over. (Oak Hammock Marsh/Twitter)

Manitobans hoping for warmer weather are in luck — the province's resident soothsaying groundhogs saw no sign of their shadows on Sunday morning, which means an early spring is on its way.

Groundhog puppet Manitoba Merv has been predicting the arrival of spring at the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre for about 25 years, spokesperson Jacques Bourgeois told CBC Weekend Morning Show host Nadia Kidwai.

The mascot did not see its shadow at the annual Groundhog Day event at the interpretive centre.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg Wyn — the fortune-telling ambassador groundhog at Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre for the past few years — is also indicating the arrival of an early spring.

Instead of watching to see if Wyn sees her shadow, the rehabilitation centre said it bases its prediction on her behaviour, which is a more reliable indicator.

Winnipeg Wyn visits the CBC Manitoba studio on Feb. 2, 2018. (Warren Kay/CBC)

In the last few weeks, Wyn has been extremely active: foraging, eating and not sleeping in, the rehabilitation centre said — all strong signs of warmer weather to come.

Bourgeois said Merv's prediction at sunrise Sunday was scheduled to kick off the interpretive centre's World Wetlands Day celebration, and teach people more about the importance of the ecosystems.

Eastern Canadian groundhogs split

Every Feb. 2, select groundhogs in North American communities predict the arrival of spring by popping out of their dens. If they're scared away by their shadows, winter will last for another six weeks. If they don't see them, an early spring is coming.

Across the rest of the country, other prognosticating groundhogs were mostly in agreement that spring is coming early.

In Ontario, Wiarton Willie predicted spring is just around the corner on Sunday morning. And Quebec's Fred la Marmotte forecast the same at a ceremony in Val-d'Espoir, Que.

But in Nova Scotia, Shubenacadie Sam saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. The province's Groundhog Day celebration was cancelled because of stormy weather in the forecast.


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