Chicago winter expected to be `average` this year - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Chicago winter expected to be `average` this year

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Ready or not, meteorological winter starts on Sunday and weather predictions are flying faster than snow in a blizzard.

Every year on December 1, winter begins. Over the past decade, we have seen everything from blinding snow in 2011 to beach weather in 2012. So, what can we expect this year?

The Farmer's Almanac points to biting cold and deep snow for Chicago. On the flip side, squirrels haven't been hoarding nuts, which in critter speak means a mild winter.

But, forget the fringe forecasts, let's look at science. There's no El Nino or La Nina. The AO, NAO and EPO pressure centers aren't giving us any signals. We are sandwiched between cold and snow to the north and warm and wet to the south.

Here it is: the winter in Chicago this year will be average.

That means any combination of weather between December and February that reaches our average snowfall of 37" and temperature of 26 degrees. Remember last year there was two months of dry warmth and one month of cold and snowy, which when added up equaled average.

The crew at the National Weather Service says anything is possible in an average winter.

"We could even have big swings week to week. You know, warm, cold, stormy, dry," NWS Meteorologist Ricky Castro explains.

Remember 2011 and the blizzard? Take away the blizzard and that year was average. And strangely enough, Alaska may hold the answer to our winter.

"An important thing to keep in mind is look up toward Alaska if you see upper level high pressure there just lingering there most of the winter we could see some pretty wicked cold shots coming into our area at times," says Castro.

Our current weather pattern of a warm autumn followed by the recent cold snap is similar to the 1993-1994 which was very cold and the years 1989-1990 which started cold and ended warm 2000-2001.

"It's gonna be's winter..." says NWS Meteorologist Edward Fenelon, adding that there's a 50/50 chance for a white Christmas.

Because this winter will have all types of weather, you need to be prepared. Keep the car fueled and pack a few snacks ready for winter driving.

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