Fargo used the starting trio of infamous blizzards, extreme cold and spring floods to win the highly competitive 64-team tournament. The city got 29,837 votes to Bradford's 25,575 in the final matchup.
Winners were determined by a poll of visitors to the America's Toughest Weather City website, where some 847,000 votes were tabulated over the course of the contest.
Bradford added late-season snow, including today's April snow, to a powerful lineup that otherwise matched well with Cleveland. It was enough to claim victory and steal some of the weather thunder from its famous neighbor, Punxsutawney Phil.
Bradford had defeated Katrina-ravaged New Orleans, the winner of the Southern bracket, to reach the championship match-up. In the end, though, Bradford did not have enough to defeat Fargo, which had emerged from the Western bracket with surprising ease.
Fargo defeated Juneau, Alaska, in a Western finals rout, earning 77 percent of the vote. Juneau's precipitation-heavy lineup, filled with 58 inches of annual rainfall and 97 inches of snow, proved to be too one-dimensional for Fargo's much more well-rounded and intense weather features.
In the early rounds, Fargo beat a pair of cities from Michigan, Grand Rapids and Marquette, as well as bitter Minnesota rivals International Falls and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Marquette had been considered a sleeper in the tournament by many experts, while others thought that the Twin Cities' chances had been bolstered by an early-season blizzard that severely damaged the Metrodome.
Another surprise was Buffalo, N.Y.'s loss to Caribou, Maine, in the Sweet 16.