Chris Schulz Published

French Creek Freddie Given Federal Reprieve, Will Forecast Friday

A groundhog can be seen turning up its snout next to a wire mesh fence. A lense flare is apparent throughout the frame, emanating from the center top of frame
French Creek Freddie in his enclosure at the West Virginia Wildlife Center.
Courtesy of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

Note: This is a developing story and may be updated.

A one-day clearance from federal officials will allow French Creek Freddie to make his shadow-based prediction Friday, Feb. 2.

Initial reports Wednesday stated that the West Virginia State Wildlife Center would be closed Friday due to issues with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s annual relicensing procedure.

However, on Thursday morning Sen. Joe Manchin sent out a press release stating U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack assured him “that French Creek Freddie will have the opportunity to look for his shadow tomorrow morning.”

The press release went on to say work continues to fully reopen the wildlife center.

Shortly after, Gov. Jim Justice also sent out a press release with details about Friday’s ceremony.

According to the release, the celebration is scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, February 2, at 10:00 a.m., when French Creek Freddie will emerge to reveal whether an early spring is on the way or if winter will continue for another six weeks. Members of the public are invited to attend at 9:50 a.m. for the opening ceremony. 

The event will also be live-streamed on Justice’s YouTube page.