Tunnel’s vision: early spring for Cape Breton
HUNTINGTON — Don’t let the blinding snow and frigid temperatures fool you, winter is about to come to an end in Cape Breton.
That’s the word from Two Rivers Tunnel, the local groundhog/meteorologist, which made its annual weather prediction Tuesday at Two Rivers Wildlife Park.
At precisely 11:22 a.m. with the sun occasionally peeking through the clouds Tunnel emerged from his tiny home and did not see his shadow. And as far as groundhogs go, that means an early spring.
“Winter is over,” said Scott Burt, Tunnel’s handler and a park attendant.
“It didn’t really start until the last week or so, but an early spring.”
Burt said Tunnel has been pretty accurate over the past 14 years.
“The odd time he is off, but he has a pretty good success rate.”
Get your spring clothes ready — not tomorrow, but maybe in a few weeks.
John Huntington, Two Rivers Wildlife Park manager
Park manager John Huntington said the correct message was lost in translation after Tunnel whispered his prediction to Coun. Brian Lahey, who passed the message along to Carmichael.
“ That is the groundhog-ese,” laughed Huntington, who is confident an early spring is ahead.
“Get your spring clothes ready — not tomorrow, but maybe in a few weeks.”
Initially, town crier Ken Carmichael announced that Tunnel had seen his shadow, which was met with a mix of groans and cheers.
Huntington said annual tradition is not only fun, but a fundraiser for the non-profit park.
Students from the Marion Bridge School braved Tuesday’s cold weather to donate the $2,622 they raised for the park through a variety of school activities over the past two weeks. The event also launched the park’s Winter Frolic festival, which takes place Friday to Sunday. Skating, music and a candlelit tour of the trail are among the planned activities.
Some of North America’s most famous furry forecasters emerged on Groundhog Day to predict six more weeks of winter.
In Wiarton, Ont., Canada’s bestknown weather prognosticating groundhog, Wiarton Willie, delivered his forecast. Shubenacadie Sam in Shubenacadie, N.S., and Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania also saw their shadows.
Coun. Brian Lahey, right, listens in closely as groundhog Two Rivers Tunnel, held by Scott Burt of Two Rivers Wildlife Park, makes his prediction Tuesday. The annual Groundhog Day tradition at the wildlife park left the crowd from Marion Bridge Elementary school and all Cape Bretoners with good news — spring is coming early.