December 2013 is projected to be the fifth coldest in more than 22 years and the coldest in three years for the U.S. as a whole. Temperatures will be much colder for the eastern half of the U.S. with below-normal cold expected in the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and Northeast. The start of the month is expected to be cold and stormy while the week after Christmas looks milder and drier in the East. A stormy pattern during the first three weeks of the month promises to also be snowy with above average snowfall across the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, South Central states and the Northwest. The High Plains, Great Lakes and western portions of the Northeast look to be at risk in the first week of December for some accumulating snowfall. The final two weeks of the month will be quieter with limited snowfall confined to the Rockies and northern High Plains. Typical winter categories will see much stronger demand compared to last year. Snow removal categories such as shovels, ice melt and scrapers will see strong demand early in the month. Hardline seasonal categories will likely see double-digit increases compared to last year. Disruptions due to snow will be a headwind, but a quieter weather pattern near Christmas will result in a surge in store traffic.
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