Robert F. Bukaty/AP

The city's primary snow dump is so tall it could run afoul of Federal Aviation Administration safety guidelines.

What's another 8 to 10 inches of snowfall for a city that's already removed 1 million cubic yards of snow?

Portland, Maine, has bested all its recent records for snow this winter. The city has received 80 inches of snow so far, the Associated Press reports, more than three feet above normal. All of that snow adds up.

In fact, the city's primary snow dump has grown so high that it is close to meeting limits set by the Federal Aviation Administration.

A snow dump on Congress Street, a site near the Portland International Jetport, is now so tall that it could potentially interfere with planes taking off and landing if it were to grow any higher.

Bangor Daily News reports that the city is capping its frosty rampart wall at 40 feet. The FAA limit for snow height near an airport is based on a formula that accounts for the distance between the runway and the snowbank. This formula actually permits a wall of snow as high as 56 feet, but building much higher than the current wall would require a lot of maneuvering space for bulldozers and other heavy equipment.

According to the report, Portland officials aren't yet considering dumping the snow into the ocean, a strategy that northeastern cities like Boston are mulling. Dumping snow into the water is a problem: Salt from the roads might nudge the salinity of Boston's harbor upward, for example, and it would introduce a lot of pollution.

Things aren't yet so dire for Portland. The city is building a new snow dump on Riverside Street, a site that it's never needed to use before. On the bright side, should White Walkers start wandering down from Quebec over the next few weeks, Portland's got a wall worthy of Game of Thrones.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Homes in Amsterdam are pictured.
    Equity

    Amsterdam's Plan: If You Buy a Newly Built House, You Can't Rent It Out

    In an effort to make housing more affordable, the Dutch capital is crafting a law that says anyone who buys a newly built home must live in it themselves.

  2. In this image from "No Small Plans," a character makes his way to the intersection of State and Madison Streets in 1928 Chicago.
    Stuff

    Drawing Up an Urban Planning Manual for Chicago Teens

    The graphic novel No Small Plans aims to empower the city’s youth through stories about their neighborhoods.

  3. Equity

    How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords

    American landlords derive more profit from renters in low-income neighborhoods, researchers Matthew Desmond and Nathan Wilmers find.

  4. A woman walking outside in Minneapolis in January 2014.
    Environment

    Climate Change Will Not Make Us Nicer

    A recent study found that people who grow up in places with mild weather are more agreeable and outgoing. What does that mean in a world of climate extremes?

  5. Equity

    Why Can’t We Close the Racial Wealth Gap?

    A new study says that income inequality, not historic factors, feeds the present-day gulf in wealth between white and black households.