Winter 2011-2012: Brutal for the Midwest, Great Lakes

October 11, 2011; 7:53 AM ET
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Hands down,'s long-range experts agree that the Midwest and Great Lakes region will be dealt the worst of winter this year.

In terms of both snow and cold, this winter is expected to be the worst in Chicago. Long-Range Meteorologist Josh Nagelberg even went so far as to say, "People in Chicago are going to want to move after this winter."

However, for the worst of winter's cold alone, the Long-Range Forecasting Team points to Minneapolis.

The team also highlights Buffalo, N.Y., Indianapolis and Omaha, Neb., as cities that will have to deal with a hefty amount of snow.

Bitterly cold blasts of arctic air are expected to invade the northern Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes December through January, while snowfall averages above normal. "A couple of heavy hitters are possible [during this time]," Pastelok said in relation to the snow.

Snowfall is predicted to be above normal from Minnesota and Iowa into Michigan, Ohio and parts of West Virginia and Kentucky. Above-normal snowfall is also likely in areas farther east into Pennsylvania and New York due to a lake-effect snow season.

This buildup of snow cover across the Midwest and Great Lakes could act to prolong the colder-than-normal weather beyond February and into early spring.

Full Winter 2011-2012 Forecast


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Great Appalachian Storm (24th-26th) developed greatest wind force, deepest snow, most severe early-season cold in history of the Northeast: 18.8 inches of snow at Akron, OH; Youngstown, OH, had a maximum 24-hour snowfall of 20.7 inches and a maximum single storm total of 28.7 inches; Steubenville, OH, had a maximum single storm total of 36.3 inches; Pittsburgh, PA, had a maximum 24-hour snowfall of 20.1 inches and a maximum single storm total of 27.7 inches; and Charleston, WV had a maximum 24-hour snowfall of 15.1 inches and a maximum single storm total of 25.6 inches. At coastal stations such as Newark and Boston single-minute wind speeds in excess of 80 mph were registered. There was a 108 mph gust at Newark. Peak gusts of 110 were noticed at Concord, NH; 108 mph at Newark, NJ; and 100 mph at Hartford, CT. Atop Mt. Washington, a wind gust of 160 mph hit from the southeast early on the 26th. Central Park, in the heart of sheltered Manhattan Island, set an 80-year record of 70 mph.

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