Fargo crowned ‘Toughest Weather City’FARGO — Fargo beat Bradford, Pa., on Friday to claim the crown of “America’s Toughest Weather City.”
By: Mike Nowatzki, The Dickinson Press
FARGO — Fargo beat Bradford, Pa., on Friday to claim the crown of “America’s Toughest Weather City.”
Now, the question is: Will anyone want to wear it?
The Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, for one, isn’t shying away from the newfound notoriety earned by Fargo’s dominance in The Weather Channel’s 64-city tournament.
Just hours after Fargo was announced as the winner Friday morning, the CVB had the news posted on its website.
“We deserve it,” CVB president Cole Carley.
“There are those who will disagree with me on this, but I believe that as long as there’s no illness, injury, death or financial malfeasance involved, it’s all good publicity because it gets the name out there,” he said.
Fargo survived a late surge by Bradford supporters to win the title, receiving about 54 percent of the more than 55,000 votes cast, Weather Channel meteorologist Jonathan Erdman said.
“The combination of the city’s infamous blizzards, extreme cold and spring floods proved too much for Bradford, Pa., in the final,” The Weather Channel stated on its website.
As Carley sees it, there are two ways of looking at the title: Yes, it says something about Fargo’s climate, but it also speaks to the resolve of residents.
“I think it says something about the determination and the hardiness of the people up here,” he said. “And, you know, this is a challenging climate, and it challenges you, but it also rewards you with some beautiful days in every season, along with some not so beautiful days.”
Carley said he’s not worried about the title scaring off potential visitors, adding the CVB assumes it has to work a little harder to pique interest in Fargo.
“If they haven’t figured out by now that this isn’t exactly ‘Moderate Weather, USA,’ then they’ve been living under a rock,” Carley said, noting he was among a contingent of people years ago who tried to get the “North” dropped from North Dakota. While perhaps not shedding the most positive light on Fargo, the contest boosted recognition for a metro area in a part of the country that’s often overlooked, said Mary Batcheller, director of business development for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp.
“And it really piggybacks onto all of the great press that we’ve been getting for the past couple years as it relates to our economy and our low unemployment rate and things like that,” she said
Indeed, Fargo has earned several other crowns that sparkle with more positive light. In the past year alone, Men’s Health magazine has named Fargo as the best place to forget the recession and the second-best place to live in America, behind Madison, Wis. Forbes.com named Fargo in February as one of the best places for an active retirement and the American Lung Association last year cited Fargo as one of three cities with the cleanest air in America.
Batcheller said companies weigh many factors when deciding where to locate or expand, such as business environment, transportation, infrastructure and work force.
Weather is just one factor — “and hopefully not the determining factor,” she said.
“I think that’s just sort of a testament to our work ethic and our ability to work through things like that,” she said of the title.
Nowatzki is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.