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Chiberia's Revenge: 2017 Winter To Bring 'Numbing' Cold, Big Snowstorms

By Kelly Bauer | September 7, 2016 1:05pm | Updated on September 8, 2016 11:50am
 After last year's easy breezy winter, Chiberia is returning with a vengeance, experts say. 
After last year's easy breezy winter, Chiberia is returning with a vengeance, experts say. 
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Flickr/niXerKG

DOWNTOWN — The city could be in for a long, cold winter, according to the Farmers' Almanac.

Chicago will face "numbing cold" and snowy weather, according to the almanac. The guide, which has long predicted the weather months ahead of time, is not a reliable source for the weather, critics have said. 

But this year it might just be right.

AccuWeather meteorologist Paul Pastelok said the long, cold and snowy prediction is a safe bet thanks to La Niña, an ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that is basically the wintry counterpart to steamy El Niño.

Winter is too far away to make an official prediction, Pastelok said, but research so far shows Chicagoans should not expect the tolerable, mild winter of last year.

"You will get your share of cold in the heart of winter," Pastelok said.

RELATED: The History of Winter in Chicago

Instead, the city is expected to get hit with cold spells that "come in hard" but don't last for long, particularly in December and January, Pastelok said. February should be "more active" for storms, and because the winter will last longer than usual, Chicago could see more than 40 inches of snow, a bit above average, Pastelok said.

"It's a long, drawn-out winter for you guys. It doesn't improve very quickly in the spring," Pastelok said. "You'll get some snow ... maybe from late November and December, and then it doesn't look like it improves very well in the spring."

United Airlines already is preparing for bad weather at O'Hare based on the almanac's forecast.

“Farmers' Almanac' is calling for a very nasty winter, particularly in Chicago, one of our main hubs,” United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz told Marketplace Morning Report. “So, as we speak, our operating team is hard at work as to how are we going to accommodate passengers, not our aircraft, not the operations behind it, but the humans that fly us.”

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