Payson Hill park in Portland sits empty on Sunday, with no snow for sledding, tubing, skiing or snowboarding. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

If you can’t remember the last time you shoveled snow at the end of your driveway or moved your vehicle for a parking ban, that’s because it’s been a while.

From Portland to Caribou, this winter has been marked for its lack of snowfall in Maine.

With meteorological winter set to end on Feb. 29, Portland has gotten less than half its average amount of snow for the season. Total snowfall measured 24.1 inches from December to February, said National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Baron, compared to the historical average of 51 inches for those months.

Snowfall in December was 0.5 inches, the second-least amount on record. January rebounded by bringing 23 inches, but February has seen just 0.6 inches. The big storm of the winter was Jan. 7, when Portland received 12.8 inches.

While there are four days to go before February ends, little snow is expected this week. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday could get a mix of rain and snow showers, but little, if any, accumulation is expected.

As far as the cold, this winter’s average temperature of 30.8 degrees was a full 6 degrees warmer than the historical average of 24.8 degrees, Baron said.


The lack of snow has meant tough times for plow drivers and snow removal services, with some saying it’s tough to continue providing plowing if no money’s coming in.

The mild weather has also taken its toll on winter activities.

At Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook, cross-country ski trails were closed Sunday, as they have been for much of the winter. The farm’s trails opened after the Jan. 7 snowstorm, but they didn’t stay that way for long.

Onare Balzer, of Portland, flips through the air on a skateboard at Dougherty Park Skatepark in Portland on Sunday. The lack of snow has been hard on winter sports enthusiasts, but skaters have enjoyed being able to use the park during the winter. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Pineland Farms in New Gloucester is urging visitors to rent fat-tire bikes, go walking on trails with microspikes or try bowling indoors.

Downhill ski areas such as Pleasant Mountain have also been challenged by the lack of snow, but all trails were open and snow-covered at the Bridgton mountain Sunday, said spokesperson Rachel Wilkinson.

“It’s been less than average in terms of snow,” she said. But with cold temperatures, “we’ve had good opportunity to make snow.”


In western Maine, Bob Stickney of the Rumford Polar Snowmobile Club said this winter has been disappointing.

“It’s been a poor winter for snowmobiling,” Stickey said Sunday. That said, western Maine has fared better than much of the state for snowfall.

Stickney tracks snow totals around Rumford and said the area is at 59 inches for the season – and trails are open.

“Actually, we’ve had more snow than most of the state. Jackman has had only 31 inches so far. So in this area of western Maine, we’ve had more snow than other parts of the state, that’s what snowmobilers are saying to us,” he said.

Snowmobilers who ask about conditions are told “it’s fair riding,” Stickney said. Some trails are good, others are poor “and there are lots of in between,” he said. “In our area of 500 miles of trails, they’re open,” except for bridges on the Andover trails washed out by heavy rainstorms earlier this winter, Stickney said.

Farther north, even Caribou has received less snow than normal.


The city is at 56.2 inches, below its usual 84 inches, said National Weather Service meteorologist Angela LaFlash.

“Last year at this point of time, we had 98 inches of snow – a whole lot more,” she said. “This has definitely been an unusual year.”

Conor Ker, 16, of Portland, flips through the air at Dougherty Park Skatepark in Portland on Sunday as his friends watch on. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

But there’s still time for some white stuff. Historically, March in Maine can be a decent snow month.

Typically, Portland receives about a foot of snow in the month, including last year’s 12.4 inches, according to the weather service.

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