Portland’s biggest snowstorm of this winter delivered relatively few headaches with its 13.4 inches of snow Thursday, but public works crews had to turn around and prepare for a wintry mix today that should freeze solid by nightfall.

Sunshine and mild temperatures, along with the new blanket of snow, made for a picture-perfect winter day Friday.

The timing of the storm posed challenges on Thursday, but it gave city crews all night to clean streets and remove snow, said Michael Bobinsky, director of Portland Public Services.

“It was sort of a marathon,” he said. “It was a long, lingering storm that started kind of midmorning and went all the way into the late night.”

There were few traffic accidents in the city, and police and emergency crews got around without too much trouble, he said.

“The (overnight) parking ban complemented the crews’ effort with cleaning up the city streets substantially and it also allowed us to remove snow in the downtown,” Bobinsky said.

Just 76 cars were towed from Portland’s streets, a far cry from the hundreds that have been impounded in previous storms.

One car owner who wasn’t so lucky was Ashley Lamar, who discovered — as she tried to go to work — that her car had been towed from Pine Street.

In a lovely, if out of place, Southern accent, Lamar explained: “I’m from Mississippi and never had to deal with a parking ban.

“I think there should be better notification, for those people who just moved here and never lived in a Northern state,” she said.

Marwa Abdalla was discouraged to find that her 1998 Chevrolet Lumina had been towed. She said she is a single mother working to support her family here and relatives in Sudan while she goes to school full time to study behavioral science. The $105 in towing and $55 in tickets will set her back, she said.

“I feel like I wish I didn’t even have a car because I have to pay this money,” she said.

Abdalla said she usually parks in the lot at Kennedy Park, where she lives, and doesn’t worry about parking bans, but the lot was full on Thursday and she had to park on the street.

There’s no parking ban in today’s forecast, which calls for 2 to 5 inches of accumulation inland but a likely transition to rain and freezing rain along the coast.

Bobinksy said crews were busy Friday making sure that snow was cleared from catch basins to reduce the chance of flooding. They also laid salt in some residential areas in anticipation of today’s storm, he said.

Bobinsky said he has used about 50 percent of this year’s $1 million snow clearing budget. He had used 70 percent to 80 percent by this time last year.

Barring a miserable March, some of this year’s money will be returned to the general fund, he said.

About $320,000 of it is spent up front to buy 8,000 tons of salt. The 4,000 to 5,000 tons remaining could reduce the amount the city buys next year, he said.

Thursday’s storm was Portland’s biggest of the season, easily beating the 8 inches that fell Jan. 12, according to the National Weather Service. But by Friday, motorists appeared to have little trouble getting around.

Bob Landry of Saco went to Sears to get new tires on his wife’s Nissan Altima. Thursday’s storm convinced both of them that replacing the tires couldn’t wait until the next inspection.

“She had no real control. You would just hit the brakes and it would go anywhere it wanted to go,” said Landry.

Portland is offering a new feature for people who sign up for alerts. The city will issue bulletins letting people know when snowplowing is essentially complete, as it was at 10 a.m. Friday, Bobinsky said.

That way, people won’t have to worry about shoveling their driveways and sidewalks only to have plows come by and push up new mounds of snow.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]