‘Manitoba Merv’ predicts six more weeks of winter on Groundhog Day

Click to play video: 'Manitoba Merv predicts six more weeks of winter'
Manitoba Merv predicts six more weeks of winter
Oak Hammock Marsh's Jacques Bourgeois talks about the furry forecaster's verdict on Groundhog Day and an anniversary at the marsh – Feb 2, 2023

We’re in for six more weeks of winter, if a stuffed groundhog at Oak Hammock Marsh is to be believed.

“Manitoba Merv” saw his shadow Thursday morning on Groundhog Day — a signal that, according to tradition and folklore, indicates more cold is on the way.

The furry forecaster is a puppet — technically a golf club cover — and has been predicting the weather each Feb. 2 since the mid-1990s. Of course, he has a pretty easy gig, as his handlers at the marsh will agree.

“He can’t really be wrong,” Oak Hammock’s Jacques Bourgeois told 680 CJOB’s The Start.

“When you see the shadow, it’s six more weeks of winter, which is mid-March. If there’s no shadow, it’s early spring, which is also mid-March.”

Bourgeois said the last time Merv got it wrong in almost three decades of prognosticating was in 1997, when he predicted an early spring and Manitoba got hit by the “Storm of the Century” that April.

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It’s been a mixed bag of Groundhog Day predictions across the country.

Nova Scotia’s most famous groundhog, Shubenacadie Sam also saw her shadow, while Wiarton Willie from Ontario, predicted an early spring.

In Quebec, unfortunately, longtime groundhog forecaster Fred la Marmotte was found dead at age nine before he could make his prediction. The organizers of the annual Groundhog Day event in Val d’Espoir, Que., said the tradition will continue next year with Fred Jr.

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