Here’s How Many Snowstorms Maine Locations Get Every Winter

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There is an inevitable truth every winter in Maine and it’s; there will be snow. But how often it snows and how much snow there will be is an ever-changing answer. There have been many warm winters in Maine and several bad winters with a seemingly endless amount of storms.

man with snow blower working in winter day

SergeiIT

As winter approaches, here’s a look at how snow accumulates in some important places in Maine, courtesy of how much will it snow and current results. The following data shows the average day the first snowfall hits, how much snowstorms (1 to 5 inches) occur in each city or town as well as how major snowstorms (6 inches and more) occur in every frame.


Portland

Lobster traps on a commercial dock during a snow storm in Maine

EJJohnsonPhotography

Date of first snowfall: November 27

Snowstorms per winter: 16

Major snowstorms per winter: 5

For most people who live in and around Portland, it probably feels like winter just keeps coming a little later each year. There is some truth to this, as the average date of the first official snowfall continues to creep later in the calendar each year. 50 years ago, Portland’s earliest snowfall date averaged November 15.


August

Thomas-Jean Veilleux

Thomas-Jean Veilleux

Date of first snowfall: November 21

Snowstorms per winter: 20

Major snowstorms per winter: 6

Central Maine’s weather does not vary much from that of major cities in southern Maine. Augusta sees a handful of additional snow events that Portland does not experience and is aware of one or two additional major snow events throughout the colder months of the year.


Rangeley

rangeley lake by south bog

PhotosignPhotography

Date of first snowfall: October 25

Snowstorms per winter: 33

Major snowstorms per winter: 6

Skiers and snowboarders are probably surprised that major snow events don’t happen more often in the mountains of Maine than they do along the coast or in central parts of the state. The key to the Rangeley Mountains is how regularly it snows, regularly dropping fresh powder from the trails from December to March.


Almost Isle

Date of first snowfall: November 10

Snowstorms per winter: 28

Major snowstorms per winter: 8

While the mountains make the headlines when it comes to snow in Maine, “the county” takes the biggest hit. Almost Isle’s first snowfall date occurs well before the winter solstice and their last snowfall date occurs well after the spring solstice. This leads to a long and grueling winter for northern Maine, characterized by a ton of snowstorms and the largest snowstorms of any region in the state.


bangor

Date of first snowfall: November 20

Snowstorms per winter: 20

Major snowstorms per winter: 6

Bangor’s data is a little misleading because over the past 4 consecutive winters, Bangor has averaged only 15 storms per winter, 4 major snowstorms and 48 inches of snow total. Will winter bounce back in Bangor or will the averages continue to drop?


Biddeford

Photo Italy LLC

Photo Italy LLC

Date of first snowfall: December 1

Snowstorms per winter: 15

Major snowstorms per winter: 5

Despite being just 20 miles south of Portland, Biddeford has the luxury of fewer snowstorms and a shorter winter. Biddeford’s first average snowfall has now passed in December thanks to no snowfall on November 8 in the past 10 years. Not only that, Biddeford’s average annual snowfall has dropped in recent years. In 2016/2017, Biddeford saw 91 inches of snowfall in total. Combining the totals from the past two winters, Biddeford saw just 67 inches of snow.


Rumford

Facebook through the town of Rumford

Facebook through the town of Rumford

Date of first snowfall: November 18

Snowstorms per winter: 22

Major snowstorms per winter: 6

Rumford is an interesting case study for Maine and snow because it usually snows a lot in Rumford without a ton of buildup. While the average number of snowing days has not slowed down over the past 4 years, the amount of snowfall has decreased. From 2015 to 2018, Rumford averaged over 105 inches of snowfall per winter. From 2019 to 2022, Rumford averaged just 58 inches of snowfall.


Machias

Date of first snow: November 28

Snowstorms per winter: 15

Major snowstorms per winter: 3

A common misconception for Maine natives is the belief that eastern Maine is snow slapped throughout the winter. Machias’ data tells a much different story. The first snowfall usually occurs later than Portland, the frequency of light storms is about the same as most places along the coast, and Machias rarely receives major snowstorms. In fact, for the entire 2020/2021 winter, Machias only saw 25 inches of total snow.


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