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Forum staff reports, Published March 28 2013

Fargo, International Falls go head to head for Midwest 'Toughest Weather City' title

FARGO – It’s a rematch between International Falls, Minn., and Fargo in the Weather Channel’s Midwest regional finals for “Toughest Weather City.” The winner will go on to the Final Four.

The two cities were in the running for the bracket title in 2011, when Fargo’s wind, cold and floods helped the city claim the crown.

This year, Fargo handily beat out Dodge City, Kan., in the first round, and knocked out Detroit and then Marquette, Wis., to reach the Midwest cham-pionship.

International Falls beat out Grand Rapids, Mich., before overtaking Duluth and Green Bay to reach the Elite Eight bracket.

The 64 cities in the 2013 tournament – the Weather Channel’s answer to the NCAA basketball’s March Madness – collected more than 200,000 votes during its first four days.

In the Northeast bracket, Syracuse, N.Y., and Caribou Maine are facing off to enter the final four. In the South, it’s Lubbock, Texas, versus Dallas. And in the West, the two Alaskan cities of Juneau and Fair-banks will battle it out for the bracket title.

In 2011, Fargo defeated Bradford, Pa., to win the Toughest Weather City title. There was no tournament in 2012.

Fargo won points for its bitter cold, wind and spring flood risk with five of its top eight floods occurring since 2001. The city along the Red River also has an average of 43 days of subzero cold compared to 13 days of more than 90-degree heat.

International Falls, known as the “Nation’s Icebox,” has 58 days of subzero cold with 71.6 inches of snow on average and only three days of more than 90-degree heat.

Online voting is open un-til 3 a.m. today in the regional finals at http://www.weather.com/sports-rec/march-madness/toughest-weather-city-midwest-elite8.

The national winner will be announced next Friday.