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Who Wins The Title Of America’s Toughest Weather City? Hint: Its Not Buffalo!

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

It’s official:  despite popular opinion, its not Buffalo.  Fargo, N.D., is “America’s toughest weather city,” edging out winter-weary Bradford, Pa., in the finals of the Weather Channel’s just concluded NCAA-style bracket championship.

According to AOL News, Fargo used the starting trio of infamous blizzards, extreme cold and spring floods to win the highly competitive 64-team tournament. The city got 29,837 votes to Bradford’s 25,575 in the final matchup.

Winners were determined by a poll of visitors to the America’s Toughest Weather City website, where some 847,000 votes were tabulated over the course of the contest.

Bradford, although a strong competitor in the Eastern bracket, made it into the finals after an upset victory over Cleveland in the Eastern bracket. Cleveland, with its long winters, lake-effect snow, biting wind and average 155 days per year with precipitation, had been picked by many as a favorite of the entire tournament.

Bradford added late-season snow, including today’s April snow, to a powerful lineup that otherwise matched well with Cleveland. It was enough to claim victory and steal some of the weather thunder from its famous neighbor, Punxsutawney Phil.

Bradford had defeated Katrina-ravaged New Orleans, the winner of the Southern bracket, to reach the championship match-up. In the end, though, Bradford did not have enough weapons to defeat Fargo, which had emerged from the Western bracket with surprising ease.

Fargo defeated Juneau, Alaska, in a Western finals rout, earning 77 percent of the vote. Juneau’s precipitation-heavy lineup, filled with 58 inches of annual rainfall and 97 inches of snow, proved to be too one-dimensional for Fargo’s much more well-rounded and intense weather features.

Fargo receives much less annual precipitation — 21 inches of rain and 41 inches of snow — but has much more dramatic weather overall, including occasional bouts of intense summer heat in addition to its famous cold and the potential for dangerous thunderstorms as well as tornadoes. The city, located in “Blizzard Alley,” also has to deal with the danger of spring floods.

In the early rounds, Fargo beat a pair of cities from Michigan, Grand Rapids and Marquette, as well as bitter Minnesota rivals International Falls and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Marquette had been considered a sleeper in the tournament by many experts, while others thought that the Twin Cities’ chances had been bolstered by an early-season blizzard that severely damaged the Metrodome.
Another surprise was Buffalo’s loss to Caribou, Maine, in the Sweet 16.
Buffalo has a tough time winning anything these days, huh?  Go Sabres!

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