Discover the Biggest November Snowstorm to Ever Hit Maine

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: November 20, 2023
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Maine is known for its beautiful natural areas, lobster feasts, and its potent winters. By the time November rolls around, the Pine Tree State has typically gotten some snow. The latest first snowfall to hit the state came on November 21, 2016. Today, we’re going to examine the biggest November snowstorm to ever hit Maine. Discover how much snow fell during that storm, how the wildlife in the area managed to survive, and whether it was the snowiest November in the state’s history.

Wildlife in Maine

side view of a moose bull standing in a snow covered meadow at yellowstone national park in wyoming, usa

Moose can survive in snowy environments.

©crbellette/Shutterstock.com

Maine is home to many different sorts of animals. Large mammals like moose and black bears, reptiles like northern watersnakes and eastern box turtles, and birds like mourning doves and Canada geese all have different ways of surviving harsh winter snowstorms.

Black bears hibernate through the winter while moose simply endure the cold as best they can. Canada geese migrate south to warmer climates, and turtles bury themselves in the muddy bottoms of bodies of water. Other animals seek shelter during snowstorms, hunkering down in trees, burrows, and other areas.

So, even when the winter weather kicks up in this area, the animals of Maine thrive.

How Much Snow Does Maine Get on Average in November?

Blizard in Maine

Blizzards can start as early as November in Portland, Maine.

©EJ Johnson/ via Getty Images

Maine is no stranger to snow in November. The earliest snowfall recorded in Maine’s history was September 29, 1991.  On average, the state gets its first snowfall in early to mid-November. Roughly two to 6 inches of snow falls in November, with most of the snowfall taking place in northern Maine.

On average, the state receives snowfall amounts of 50 to 70 inches in the coastal areas. Yet, the inland area of the state can get anywhere from 60 to 110 inches of snow. Most of the snow falls during the month of January.

What Was the Biggest November Snowstorm to Ever Hit Maine?

Blizzard Snow

Blizzards combine wind and snow to create weather-borne havoc.

©justoomm/Shutterstock.com

The biggest November snowstorm to ever hit Maine was 35 inches of snow that fell on November 23, 1943. To be clear, this is the largest single-day record for snow recorded near a weather station in the state. The more remote, mountainous areas of Maine certainly have gotten more snow in a single day. Still, in this case, the weather station was near Middle Dam in Maine. Other than the snow total, very little information exists about this storm.

So, we lack insight into the storm’s direct impact on this particular area of Maine. However, a story from the New York Times provides some insight into the conditions in the area. According to the news story, the powerful storm first struck New York State, killing three people and bringing down power lines and telephone wires in many parts of the state.

It’s not unreasonable to think that the same conditions would have been even more prevalent in Maine as nearly three feet of snow fell in a single day. The aforementioned news story also said that the storm lasted for upwards of 36 hours, meaning the storm could have dumped even more snow in the area on the following day. Either way, this is the biggest November snowstorm to ever hit Maine.

Where Is Middle Dam on a Map?

Middle Dam is in North Oxford Maine, a part of Oxford County. This portion of the state is in the western part of the state, about 6 miles from the border with New Hampshire. So, Middle Dam is in the interior part of the state that gets the most snow, a part of the state that includes western and northwestern Maine.

What Was the Greatest Single-Day Snow Record in Maine?

Orono, Maine, USA.

A map showing the location of Orono.

©Tudoran Andrei/Shutterstock.com

The greatest single-day snow record in Maine was a 40-inch storm that occurred in Orono, Maine. The storm struck Orono on December 30, 1962. The storm traveled from the northern part of the state into the southern part of the state. Schools were not in session due to their holiday breaks. So, what would have been a great snow day only ruined New Year’s Eve Eve plans. This storm was part of the 10-day snowfall record at a weather station in the state. During that time, 71 inches of snow fell near the weather station at Ripogenus Dam.

So, the biggest November snowstorm to ever hit Maine dropped only 5 inches fewer than the highest single-day record of 40 inches.

The biggest November snowstorm to ever hit Maine occurred in 1943. Few records about this snowstorm exist for this part of the state, probably due to its remoteness and relatively small population. Areas like New York City with major newspaper publications and weather stations recorded their major storms with greater accuracy. Either way, it seems as though the storm would have brought life to a halt for several days as the snow and wind brought down communications and power lines.  

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/corradobarattaphotos


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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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