Portland named one of America’s ‘toughest towns’ in the face of snowstorms

Well, isn’t this just timely.

Those of you who read this blog regularly (Hi, mom!) know I try to catch it when Portland makes a Top 10 or national ‘Best of’ list of one kind or another. And boy, keeping up with those things is a workout. Barely a month ever goes by when the city’s isn’t fawned over by some national publication or another, which is all well and good for Portland’s marketing brochures, but makes it hard for me to take even a little break from this blog.

Portland’s been lauded for its coffee, its farmers markets, its beer, its healthy living, its environmental friendliness, its drivers and on and on and on. Sometimes I provide links to all of those previous lists, but it’s after 10 p.m. on a Friday and I’ve already worked a pretty long week, so you’re going to have to take my word for it or go pawing through my blog’s archives. It’s all there.

One of the more recent plaudits was being named by Business Insider as one of the 14 places on Earth people really need to visit in 2014, alongside places like Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the entire country of Brazil, and ahead of space. Yes, space.

A woman talks on her cell phone as she passes Hadlock Field, home of the AA baseball Portland Sea Dogs, Thursday morning at the start of the season's latest snowstorm. (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

A woman talks on her cell phone as she passes Hadlock Field, home of the AA baseball Portland Sea Dogs, Thursday morning at the start of the season’s latest snowstorm. (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

This latest list is particularly timely, as we just weathered one snowstorm starting on Thursday, and we’re due to get another one Saturday. So tonight, wedged between those two storms, we’re going to puff out our chests and brag about this: Bustle.com named Portland among the country’s “toughest” winter towns, under a headline of “These 7 Cities Can Actually Handle a Snowstorm.”

Maine’s largest city, which gets about 61.8 inches of snow annually and needs an average of 12 inches of the white stuff for schools to close, comes in at No. 4 on the list. (Portland actually had 93 inches of snow last winter, thanks in part to a record-breaking 31.9-inch wallop in February.)

Jonathan D., 22, soars down the middle of Exchange Street on a sled Friday afternoon, Feb. 8, 2013, followed by fellow street sledders Rebecca Merritt, on the blue sled, and Meghan Carr, both 21. The trio of adventure seekers said they recently moved to the city from Topsham, and brought cross country skis along Friday as well. (BDN photo by Seth Koenig)

Jonathan D., 22, soars down the middle of Exchange Street on a sled Friday afternoon, Feb. 8, 2013, followed by fellow street sledders Rebecca Merritt, on the blue sled, and Meghan Carr, both 21. (BDN photo by Seth Koenig)

Portland finished a spot ahead of No. 5 Minneapolis and one behind No. 3 Rochester, N.Y., which averages 99.5 inches.

In the top spot on the list was Park City, Utah, which, according to Bustle.com, gets 411.1 inches of snow every year. (That seemed like an absurd number to me, so I poked around in some other places online, and it seems to actually range between 140 inches in-town to the upper 300s in the higher elevation resorts — still a lot of snow, but not quite what Bustle was reporting.)

Anyway, because we only really care about Portland, here’s what Bustle says about the Forest City:

Like Boston, Portland got hit pretty hard by Nemo last year, with 31.9 inches of snow — half the state’s annual average — blanketing the city. But here’s something sure to warm a book-loving heart: When a beloved local bookstore, Longfellow Books, sustained major damage, the whole community banded together to help repair the store and reopen it. It has bounced back wonderfully, so if you find yourself in the area, be sure to check it out.

As my colleague, Troy R. Bennett, captured in photographs yesterday, Casco Bay Lines held a ship christening in the middle of Thursday’s blizzard-like conditions, helping prove the point.

A deck hand casts off the bow line as the M/V Wabanaki gets ready to depart the dock in Portland after a christening ceremony. (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

A deck hand casts off the bow line as the M/V Wabanaki gets ready to depart the dock in Portland after a christening ceremony. (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

So what “tough” thing are you planning to do in Saturday’s storm? Assuming Mother Nature doesn’t wimp out… I think I’m going to stay off the roads, throw in a Blu-Ray movie and sip on some hot cocoa. But in a very defiant way.

Recommend this article
Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.