NOTE: This forecast was published in October 2011 and has since been updated; see our full-length 2012-2013 AccuWeather.com Winter Forecast update for the latest information.
Overall, this winter is not expected to be as extreme as last winter for the big cities east of the Appalachians. With that said, snowfall is still forecast to average near or even slightly above normal south and east of the mountains from Virginia to Maine.
Most of that snow is predicted to fall from December into January, making for an active start to the season for New York City and other big cities along the Interstate 95 corridor.
"A few significant ice or wet snow events can still occur south and east of the Appalachians," explained Paul Pastelok, AccuWeather.com Expert Long-Range Meteorologist and leader of the Long-Range Forecasting Team. Such events can also cause major power outages.
The interior Northeast is predicted to be colder and snowier than areas closer to the coast. An early, heavy lake-effect snow season will put areas from northwestern Pennsylvania into western New York, including Erie and Buffalo, into the zone of winter's worst snow and cold, according to the team.
"Lake-effect snow can be significant this year," Pastelok warned. He explained that with bitter arctic air set to blast across the relatively warm waters of the Great Lakes, conditions will be right for above-normal lake-effect snow from mid-November through early January.
Overall, precipitation is expected to be above normal throughout most of the Northeast from January into February. With the exception of northern parts of New York and New England, temperatures are forecast to average near normal for the winter season.
Tropical Depression Eight could become a tropical storm while brushing the North Carolina coast with rough surf, downpours and locally gusty thunderstorms into midweek.
Tropical Depression Nine developed just south of Florida on Sunday and will turn toward the northeastern Gulf Coast of the United States later this week.
Another strong tropical disturbance has moved off the coast of Africa and bears watching for strengthening and impact on the Caribbean and the United States during September.
Two tropical systems, Madeline and Lester, could pose hazards to Hawaii from the middle of the week into Labor Day weekend.
Though the summer season is winding down, forecasters are predicting a warm start to fall across the Northeast — a weather pattern that could spell bad news for fall foliage lovers.
The worst thing that people who live along coastlines can do is not to prepare for tropical storms and hurricanes.
West Virginia (1989)
Lightning sets numerous house and trailer fires. Firefighters could not keep up with all the fires that were burning.
Incredible "snow" hurricane whitened parts of the Catskills.
Santa Cruz (1929)
Coastal Steamer San Juan (over 2,000 tons) was rammed off Pigeon Point near Santa Cruz, CA by the oil tanker S.C.T. Doss which was proceeding at "excessive speed in fog without sounding fog signals". 70 passengers and crew of San Juan drowned.