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Report: Polar vortex to bring 'extended period of severe winter weather'

Autumn in Siberia often provides a glimpse into what winter has planned for the Great Lakes, including the Buffalo Niagara region.

So prepare to bundle up this winter.

Expect a frigid winter with at least one visit from a lobe of the polar vortex, according to climate researchers funded by the National Science Foundation.

"I think the combination of La Niña and an anticipated disruption of the polar vortex could focus the worst of this winter's weather around the Great Lakes," said Judah Cohen, a meteorologist at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, a firm specializing in environmental research.

Although there's no immediate signs of weakening in the polar vortex, that could happen by January, Cohen said.

"All indicators favor a cold winter in the eastern U.S.," according to the report. "The combination of cold and wet could result in an above normal snow season for parts of the northern U.S., including the large population centers of the northeastern U.S."

The report, released Thursday, identifies areas around Lake Erie and in the northern Plains states to be the coldest from normal.

Temperatures averaging nearly 2 degrees below normal are expected in those areas for December, January and February, according to the report.

Researchers relied on various predictors when making the seasonal forecast, including the El Niño/Southern Oscillation, Eurasian snow cover extent during October, Arctic sea ice and another index measuring atmospheric patterns in the high latitude areas of the globe.

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Lots of lake-effect snow forecast for this Buffalo winter

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