By Jeff Verszyla

After last year’s rough winter, who doesn’t want to know how much snow we’re going to get and how cold will it be this year?

KDKA Chief Meteorologist Jeff Verszyla has the answers in his annual winter weather forecast.

First he expects an early winter chill setting in by late November and lasting through December.

But his forecast calls for no Snowmageddon this year. A repeat performance of last year’s record-setting snowfall is not in the cards.

In fact, expect only two snowfalls greater than five inches for the entire season.

Rather than paralyzing snowstorms, our winter will be characterized by sloppy winter storms. Systems cutting through the Ohio Valley will likely bring more bouts of mixed precipitation like rain, snow, sleet and ice events.

Verszyla expects greater than normal temperature swings where big chills will be followed by big warm-ups, so the freeze-thaw cycle should make several rounds.

Normal Temps/ Below Avg. Snowfall
Forecast High – 52…Avg High 51
Forecast Low – 35…Avg Low 34
Forecast Snow – 2.5″…Avg Snowfall – 3.1″

November will ease us into the season with normal temperatures, highs averaging 52 and lows 35. Snowfall will be below average at 2.5 inches.

Below Normal Temps / Above Normal Snowfall
Forecast High – 36…Avg High – 40
Forecast Low – 22…Avg Low – 25
Forecast Snow – 15.8″…Avg Snowfall – 6.9″

December should help you get into the holiday spirit. Temperatures will be below normal with highs averaging 36 and lows at 22 while snowfall will be above normal at 15.8 inches, making the chances of a white Christmas pretty good.

Normal Temps / Above Normal Snowfall
Forecast High – 35…Avg High – 35
Forecast Low – 20…Avg Low – 20
Forecast Snow – 13.8″…Avg Snowfall – 12.3″

The first month of 2011 should be interesting with conflicting cold and mild air masses causing large temperature fluctuations.

However, in the end, the month should be fairly average with near normal temps, highs of 35 and a slightly above normal snow total of 13.8 inches.

Above Normal Temps / Below Normal Snowfall
Forecast High – 41…Avg High – 39
Forecast Low – 25…Avg Low – 22
Forecast Snow – 4.1″…Avg Snow – 8.5″

It looks like this could be the year where Punxsutawney Phil gets a warm welcome. February looks completely different from a year ago with temperatures on the warmer side of normal at 41 for the average high and 25 for the low and snowfall of 4.1 inches – less than half the average.

Normal Temps / Normal Snowfall
Forecast High – 49…Avg High – 49
Forecast Low – 31…Avg Low 30
Forecast Snow 7.0″…Avg Snowfall – 7.9″

The significant seasonal swings will settle down in March. The late winter/early spring transition period will be absolutely average with high and temps of 49 and 31 respectively and snowfall of seven inches coming in near normal by the time the daffodils awake from their winter nap.

When we close the books on this winter, despite some wild swings, temperatures will finish pretty close to normal. Verszyla expects a total snowfall of 43.2 inches, which is 4.5 inches higher than normal and overall precipitation from more mixed events should be well above average.

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