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Brutal Central U.S. Cold Snap, Lake-Effect Snow March On

UPDATED 9 AM EST, December 12, 2013

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Fred Allen

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Even though astronomical winter is more than a week away, Arctic air bottled up in Canada isn`t waiting for winter's arrival. If the dangerous cold weren`t enough, it will also keep the lake-effect snow machine cranking across the eastern Great Lakes.

Wednesday`s highs ranging from the teens and single digits below zero across Minnesota and Wisconsin to the single digits and teens above zero in northwestern Indiana provided no favors in the wind chill department this morning. Unfortunately, it`s the starting point to a brutally cold start for this morning across the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and northern Ohio Valley.

This morning, the mercury has tumbled into the single digits, 10s and lower 20s below zero from northern Minnesota into northern Illinois and Indiana. The culprit behind the cold is a strong Arctic high pressure that descended across the lower Ohio Valley, making this area the ideal spot for near-perfect overnight cooling consisting of minimal wind, dry air and a clear sky. The end result is lows that have bottomed out in the 20s below zero across northern Minnesota, to the single digits below zero in Chicago and Milwaukee, and single digits in Indianapolis.

Not to be outdone, dangerously cold wind chills won`t only be limited to the Midwest and Great Lakes. Caribou and Greenville, Maine, are seeing wind chills this morning in the lower 20s and 10s below zero, while some West Virginia and Maryland Panhandle residents are waking up to single digits below zero. If heading outdoors, make sure to dress in multiple layers and wear a hat and gloves to remain protected from the elements.

It is also this Arctic high combined with a fresh Clipper-type system roaming the northern Great Lakes that will continue to trigger narrow, but very intense lake-effect snow across western New York and in Upper Michigan through Friday.

The strong westerly flow across the relatively warm and unfrozen lakes Erie and Ontario will produce a few more days of incredible snowfall this week. While an additional widespread 4 to 6 inches will cover the ground from northwestern Pennsylvania to New York`s Tug Hill Plateau, places such as Watertown, Fulton and Jamestown, N.Y., will pick up 1 to 2 feet of new snow. Buffalo will even pick up close to a foot of snow, while the long-lasting bands bury western New York in up to 3 feet.

Lake Effect Snow Warnings and Lake Effect Snow Advisories are in place from northeast Ohio to western New York.

Incredible snowfall tallies are being recorded in western New York alone, including an 11-hour period on Wednesday that produced 18 inches of snow in Wales Center; their total stands at 26 inches so far. This wasn`t even the jackpot though, with Redfield, N.Y., digging out of 44 inches of new snow.

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