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Accuweather forecasts extreme cold winter for Chicago

(Reuters) - Private forecaster Accuweather.com said on Wednesday that heavy snow and extreme cold should be expected in the north central United States, especially in the Chicago area, in the coming winter.

The East Coast faces average to slightly above average snowfall during the winter of 2011-2012 as a Pacific La Nina again drives weather patterns across the United States.

"People in Chicago are going to want to move after this winter," Accuweather Long-Range Meteorologist Josh Nagelberg said in a statement.

Accuweather's forecast projects Chicago will again be hit by extreme cold weather and several blizzards, as it endured last winter when more than 50 inches fell on the city including a single storm that dropped 20 inches.

Severe cold and heavy snow should expected from the Great Lakes across the Midwest and northern plains states, according to Accuweather.

La Nina, the name for a recurring phenomenon when sea surface temperatures across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean are below normal, will fuel weather across North America, including a persistent flow of tropical moisture that brings heavy rains to the West Coast called the "Pineapple Express."

The southeastern United States could again see flooding in the lower Mississippi Valley in late winter, Accuweather said.

Dry, mild weather is expected over most of the southwestern United States, with no relief seen for drought-stricken Texas.

The Mid-Atlantic states could see snow and ice with South Carolina and Georgia seeing rain. Florida should expect a mild, dry winter.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba in Houston; Editing by Gary Hill)

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