If Racine County experiences anything close to a normal winter, area residents could see a 16 percent increase on their home heating bills.

WISN 12 News is reporting that the relatively mild winter of 2015-2016 resulted in lower prices but colder temperatures mean that even lower natural gas prices would mean higher bills.

“If we see that quote, unquote normal winter weather and natural gas prices stay relatively where they are right now in the spot market, we would expect our customers to pay about sixteen percent more than last winter,” WE Energies spokesperson Cathy Schulze told the news station.

The utility does buy natural gas during the summer when prices are at their lowest to help prevent unexpected spikes during the winter, the story continues.

At least two predictions for the 2016-2017 winter warn residents of a colder, snowier winter.

A map on the Farmer’s Almanac website specifically says Southeast Wisconsin will experience, “numbing cold & snowy” conditions.

AccuWeather says our winter will be extended into spring after cold air sweeps across the region by the end of November.

“I do feel we’re going to kick this season off pretty quick, especially the western lakes,” AccuWeather Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok says in a story about the coming winter.

The story goes on to say that early snow in December will bring temperatures down from averages recorded last year.

“Developing snowpack in early December may contribute to even colder weather. Temperatures will plummet as the season goes on, averaging 6 to 9 degrees lower overall than last winter.”

According to U.S. Climate Data, average highs in December around here hover around 24 degrees; 20 in January; and 26 degrees in February.

A 6- to 9-degree dip would mean daytime highs would routinely only climb into the low to mid teens.

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