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Cold, snow return to East Coast, Midwest

CHICAGO – The Midwest and the Eastern Seaboard are bracing for another blast of below-normal temperatures and heavy snowfall after a few days of temperatures that moved slightly above normal for this time of year.

The National Weather Service says a storm developing over the middle Mississippi Valley as rain late Tuesday will change to snow and move northeastward to the Gulf of Maine by Thursday. It is expected to dump up to 8 inches of snow in the Chicago area and northern Indiana and more along the Great Lakes in Ohio, Pennsylvania and upstate New York before dissipating over Canada.

Chicago has already been buried by 75.5 inches of snow this winter – fourth most on record dating back to 1884-1885, according to the weather service. The snowfall expected into today could push the seasonal total into third place, ahead of the 77-inch total from 1969-1970.

Southeastern Michigan, where up to 9 inches is forecast, may come close to breaking a 133-year-old snowfall record. The storm will likely move the Detroit area close to the seasonal snow total of 93.6 inches set in 1880-1881, according to the weather service.

Indianapolis was expecting a temperature drop of about 40 degrees over a 24-hour period overlapping Tuesday and today, said Chad Swain, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

“We’re 68 for the high right now,” Swain said late Tuesday afternoon. “That’s going to quickly change.”