Was it messy? Sure was.

Could it have been worse? You bet.

A storm familiar to most of the country breezed through Maine on Wednesday but snowfall fell just short of predictions. Most areas were a few inches short of a foot by late afternoon, well below the 2 feet some had feared.

Of course, snow that fell on Wednesday only added to the inches that came with the first wave of the storm a day before. Lewiston saw 3.5 inches on Tuesday and another 8.5 on Wednesday. The result: higher snowbanks and less space to fling snow when clearing driveways.

Most areas saw similar snowfall amounts. In Bridgton, 8 inches fell on top of 4 inches. In most parts of Oxford County, 8 inches were added to the 2 that came the day before.

To some, the recent wave of storms makes it feel as though winter has come on tougher than normal. Not true, say weather experts.

At the start of the week, the statewide average snowfall for the season was roughly 47 inches, according to Mike Ekster of the National Weather Service in Gray. Add the 10 inches or so that fell Tuesday and Wednesday and we’re still under 60 inches for the season.

The illusion that Maine is getting buried probably comes from the frequency and duration of the latest storms.

“It does feel like we got more than we actually have,” Ekster said.

Like everything else, snowfall is relative. Compared to last winter, when a measly 45.8 inches fell the whole season, this winter feels brutal.

“Last year,” Ekster said, “winter shut off around this time.”

Go back another year and there is a new perspective. In the winter of 2007-08, Maine was battered by one storm after another. By the time it was over, more than 130 inches had fallen. So far, we’re not on pace to challenge that record, although Ekster said we are slightly above average for snowfall this season.

Regardless of the numbers, Wednesday was a mess. Roads clogged with snow faster than city crews could keep up with them. Most schools and government offices closed well in advance of the storm’s arrival.

Around Lewiston and Auburn, many small businesses were dark, as well. Restaurants and sandwich shops sent employees home early or didn’t open at all. Marden’s stayed open, but the governor sent state workers home at noon.

If there was any consolation for Mainers it was that almost every other part of the country also was contending with the storm. About 13,000 flights were canceled across the nation, including those in cities such as Atlanta and Dallas. It was estimated that the storm, stretching from New Mexico to New England, affected a third of the U.S. population.

Thursday and Friday are expected to be reasonably quiet, though cold, as far as the weather is concerned. On Saturday, a storm developing off the Eastern Seaboard is expected to bring more snow into the weekend.

It kind of makes you wonder if Punxsutawney Phil knows his business at all.

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Wednesday’s snowfall totals, in inches

Sugarloaf: 9-11

Sunday River: 9

Lewiston: 8.5

Durham: 7.4

Bethel: 8

Bridgton: 8

Farmington: 5

Bath: 11

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