CHICAGO (WLS) -- There's no avoiding winter, especially in Chicago.
Snow and the brutal cold can make the winter months ahead miserable, but remember how mild it was last winter?
Flashback to Feb. 1, when the temperature was 45 degrees. On that same day in 2011, a blizzard shut down Lake Shore Drive with over 13 inches of snow.
The ABC7 First Alert Weather Team has been analyzing global weather patterns to forecast just how harsh the upcoming Chicago winter might be.
We are coming off one of the strongest El Nino winters ever and moving into a weak La Nina pattern. Typically that comes with a wetter and cooler winter season.
Considering all the elements, all signs point to a colder and snowier winter. Expect temperatures for December to fall one or two degrees below the average of 28 degrees.
January should not see record-breaking lows, but it will still be chilly, with temperatures near the norm of 24 degrees.
And keep those layers handy for February, where temperatures look to trend back below average, staying in the low to mid 20s.
Snow totals could climb above the season average of 36 inches this winter. Amounts could total up 40 to 50 inches with even higher amounts in the Snow Belt region across the Great Lakes.
Keep in mind that just one big snow storm could make a huge difference in the total amount of snow.
You might want to keep that snow shovel close!