Unpredictable winter set to continue as groundhog sleeps through alarm

Unpredictable winter set to continue as groundhog sleeps through alarm

Fundy — Eager onlookers crowded the entrance of a local groundhog burrow early Feb. 2. Though not an officially recognized rodent representative, Hopewell Harry the groundhog has become a local celebrity in recent years.

“I know he’s no Wiarton Willie or Shubenacadie Sam,” Fundy resident Matt Sheffield said of Harry, comparing him to both Ontario and Nova Scotia’s famous marmots, “but he’s all we got and we’re real excited.”

The crowd reached a total of 27 people at the height of the morning, a new record for the Fundy chapter. With the kegs tapped and the barbecues roaring in the early morning, the festivities were enjoyed by all. “I’m just excited to see the little bastard,” Fundy resident Shelly Carver told The Manatee. “Last year he saw his shadow, and we all remember the nuclear winter that brought us. It’s been feeling like spring lately, and I want that to continue.”

The late-January temperature spikes have reached as high as 10°C at times, which has both concerned and pleased residents all over the province. In what is supposed to be the coldest time of the year, many New Brunswickers have been spotted wearing shorts and T-shirts while shovelling their driveways.

“Of course it’s abnormal,” meteorologist Dwayne Arden explained as he refilled his mug from the keg. “We’re in Atlantic Canada and we’re getting California weather; it should certainly concern people. Predicting the weather is 90 percent guessing and 10 percent chance of precipitation,” he joked. “None of us have the slightest idea what we’re doing, that’s why we love scapegoating the marmot.”

The crowd became disorderly as the morning progressed with no sign of Harry, so they tapped another keg and carried on. The groundhog, who evidently slept through his alarm, kept the impatient crowd waiting for more than 3 hours before they finally began to disperse. “I’ve got no problem wasting the morning waiting for Harry,” said Arden, “but it’s nearly noon and if I don’t go to the pub now someone might take my seat.”

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