Get ready for an early spring, according to our province’s resident prognosticator.
Manitoba Merv did not see his shadow this Groundhog Day morning, meaning winter shouldn’t last too long this year.
Merv is not a real groundhog, of course, but a puppet. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t scarily accurate when it comes to this kind of thing.
“I’m not one to believe that kind of stuff usually, but for the past 22 years, he’s only been wrong once,” explains Jacques Bourgeois with Oak Hammock Marsh, the home of Manitoba Merv. “He was wrong in 2014. He actually predicted an early spring and that’s the year winter dragged on forever.”
Merv’s prediction is the only one we can consult in Manitoba this year in the wake of the death of Winnipeg Willow just days ago. Bourgeois says they use a puppet because they feel it is more ethical.
“If you watch the news, sometimes you see those groundhogs coming out of those cages and they’re so afraid. Technically they should be hibernating at this time of year. So we just thought it would be a little nicer to use a puppet instead of a live one.”
Bourgeois adds that the average life expectancy of a groundhog is about five years, while Merv has been predicting the weather for over two decades. Around the country, most of the other groundhogs agree with an early spring with the exception of Ontario’s Wiarton Willie, who did see his shadow predicting a longer winter.