We will never know if Quebec’s weather groundhog saw his shadow, or something much worse, before he was unable to predict the spring 2023 forecast.
Fred la Marmotte was found dead in his enclosure on February 2, also known as Groundhog Day.
Organizers broke the news to a crowd gathered in Val-d’Espoir, near Gaspé, to celebrate the tradition of watching the groundhog emerge and either see his shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter, or not, meaning an early spring.
There’s no precedent for what outright death means for the forecast.
“I’m announcing the death of Fred. When I tried to wake him up, he had no vital signs,” event organizer Roberto Blondin told onlookers on Thursday morning. The animal had been hibernating since the fall.
“Little Fred, he was nine years old… [But] this year is still going to be very special because I’ll tell you what we’re going to do: we’re going to continue the tradition.”
Organizers didn’t let the news get them down. Instead of cancelling the event, organizers selected a small child wearing a groundhog tuque to replace the deceased rodent.
Much to the amusement of all present, the kiddo used his best spidey senses to predict… a late spring.
And he doesn’t seem far off the mark. Parts of the province are now facing an extreme cold warning, which doesn’t bode well for spring tidings any time soon.
At least Fred doesn’t have to worry about heinous Quebec weather anymore.