Chief Long Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi in October forecast that December would be "perhaps the roughest winter month for much of the nation."
The month will fulfill Bastardi's forecast, coming to a close just the way it began, with cold and snow across much of the northern tier of the country.
According to the Winter Weather Center, a fast-moving storm sparked heavy snow from the northern Plains Tuesday to southern New England Wednesday.
The addition of cold winds wrapping around the low has turned the storm into a full-blown blizzard that could paralyze Cape Cod New Year's Eve and Canada's Maritimes overnight and Thursday.
The Severe Weather Center lists the storm-related watches, warnings and advisories in effect from the lower Great Lakes to southern New England.
The East Regional News story reports Buffalo, N.Y. Related News recorded 7 inches of snow in just four hours early Wednesday. As much as 10 inches of wind-whipped snow fell from upstate New York into central and southern New England through the afternoon hours Wednesday. A listing of snowfall totals from the storm can be found in the National Weather News Summaries.
Motorists can expect dangerous winter driving conditions, while airline passengers at major airports in the Northeast should be prepared for flight delays caused by the continuation of strong winds and blowing and drifting snow.
Bitterly cold winds through the last hours of 2008 and the start of 2009 will blast through the concrete and steel canyons in New York City, sending the AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperature plunging to below zero as scores of revelers huddle and howl in Times Square.
Anyone planning to be outdoors New Year's Eve in the northern states should protect themselves against exposure to the severe cold.
According to a report by the University of Iowa, the consumption of alcohol constricts the blood vessels, lowering the body temperature and could make certain individuals more susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite.
Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson says the blizzard will slam into Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island overnight.
"The worst of this snowstorm will be over northeastern Nova Scotia and eastern Prince Edward Island as the combination of a longer duration storm, heavy snow, hurricane-force wind gusts and blowing snow will create dangerous blizzard conditions, especially from midday Thursday through Thursday evening," says Anderson.
Even though the accumulating snow will be out of the Northeast by New Year's Day, winds will continue to create areas of blowing and drifting snow. Winds in Philadelphia Thursday will add a chill to the annual Mummer's Parade, despite plenty of sunshine and a forecast high of 30 degrees. The annual event steps off at 10 a.m. EST and takes six hours to pass any point along the parade route.
Winds in Chicago on Thursday are going to cause some problems for the members of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings when they take to the ice at the 'Friendly Confines' of Wrigley Field for the 2009 NHL Winter Classic.
One year ago, Pittsburgh and Buffalo skated through the snow at Ralph Wilson Stadium in suburban Buffalo. This year, the Wings and Hawks will face off at 1 p.m. CST under cloudy skies with winds gusting to near 20 mph, making it feel colder than the forecast temperature of 31 degrees.
The cold and wind will not be factors in four of the major college bowl games on New Year's Day. The South Regional News story reports sunshine and warm temperatures will create ideal conditions for four games in Florida.
South Carolina meets Iowa in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the Capital One Bowl features Georgia and Michigan State at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl pits Nebraska against Clemson at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium and Cincinnati takes on Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl at Dolphins Stadium in Miami.
Meanwhile, pleasant weather conditions are in store in store for Dallas, Tex., where the AT&T Cotton Bowl will play host to Ole Miss and Texas Tech. Penn State and Southern Cal will enjoy identical conditions as they take the field at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., for the "granddaddy of all bowl games."
Unfortunately, the West Regional News story reports the Northwest will not enjoy a sunny New Year's Day as a new storm moving onshore New Year's Day brings more rain and snow to the region.
Storm-related watches and warnings remain in effect as the train of storms continues to pound the Northwest. The avalanche danger in the mountains from British Columbia to Colorado remains at an extreme level.
Wind-driven rain will fall through Thursday from coastal B.C. to Washington state and Oregon, while heavy snow falls in the Rockies in B.C. and the Cascades.
The combination of rain and melting snow has increased potential for flooding and flash flooding from the coast to the western slopes of the Cascades.
Snow levels will fall by Friday as a cold front moves through the Pacific Northwest. Strong winds associated with the storm will create dangerous blizzard conditions above 5 thousand feet in the Cascades.