Winter Festival Cancelled Due to Lack of Snow
(NECN: Marnie MacLean, Portland, Maine) - When the city of Portland, Maine, planned this year's big winter festival, it seemed a weekend in February would be a safe bet for snow.
But, all the major storms have gone south, and there is not even enough snow to build a snowman.
The sign still hangs above Portland's City Hall, but WinteRush, the festival that celebrates the season of snow, has officially been canceled.
Nicole Clegg: "No snow happened, the majority of events are snow dependent and we weren't able to have it"
This is Deering Oaks Park in Portland where they planned to do the sledding, snowshoeing and have snowball fights, but as you can see not nearly enough snow.
Which is nice if you're a squirrel looking for an easy lunch in the park, but not so good when you want to have a big outdoor winter party. Usually by this time Portland would have seen about 70 inches of snow. This season, it's half that, and most of that snow melted in a January thaw.
At last year's festival, there was more than enough snow to build snow cabins and elaborate snow sculptures that thousands came to enjoy.
This year, the city had to scramble just to find enough snow to let a high school class finish their sculpture assignment.
Alysa Grindlinger, Falmouth: "I saw the sun come out this week and I was like oh no, no snow for sculpture class"
Alysa did get enough snow to help create a lobster claw sculpture, but it may not last long in 39 degree temperatures.
At the city's public works garage, the plows may be quiet, but the men who drive them are still working hard, using their time to get all their equipment in tiptop shape.
Kim Dolbow has been plowing portland's streets for 38 years. He says he's never seen a winter this quiet....and that's not a good thing.
Kim Dulbow: "I'd rather have the snow so I can get the overtime, (no overtime with sanding) eight hours and that's it"
His loss is a big gain for city coffers. The savings in overtime and materials will help Portland deal with a two million dollar budget cut from the state.
Some of Portland's public works employees have offered to go down to the Mid-Atlantic States and help them dig out from all their snow, they'd be the ones in the freshly painted plows.