A no-travel advisory remains in effect in North Dakota and South Dakota, where up to two feet of snow fell in some areas from Dec. 13-14.
Forecasters continue to monitor a disturbance that will move northward across the Plains early this week, bringing a broad swath of precipitation to the region. While this will come in the form of rain and even thunderstorms close to the Gulf Coast, Mother Nature has a few tricks up her sleeve farther north. With abnormally cold air in place, a swath of snow is in the cards for portions of the central United States, which may be enough to bring a white Christmas for some.
The source of this snow was positioned hundreds of miles away over the Desert Southwest on Sunday, bringing some showers in Arizona and New Mexico to close out the weekend. By Monday though, the storm will be propelled eastward by the jet stream. With the Gulf of Mexico acting as a source of moisture, conditions will be in place for precipitation across a large swath of the Plains and the Mississippi Valley.
Finally, a sharp dip in the jet stream will be in place across the Heartland, which will provide plenty of subfreezing air, the key third ingredient to get a cooler weather in the region.
“With cold air already in place across Missouri and eastern Kansas, confidence is high that whatever falls will be snow,” AccuWeather Meteorologist La Troy Thornton said.
The first signs of accumulating snow should arrive in Kansas by early Monday morning, impacting locations such as Topeka and Emporia.
Later in the day Monday, the swath of snow should shift northeastward. Cities such as Kansas City, Missouri, and Omaha, Nebraska, should expect to have several hours of snowfall during this time. By late afternoon, snow should be positioned across northern Missouri and portions of Iowa, bringing impactful snow to the Des Moines area by the evening hours.
Across this entire region, residents will want to plan for disruptions to travel. While total accumulations should only be around the 1- to 3-inch range, road conditions are still likely to become hazardous. A narrow swath of 3-6 inches may be possible in part of this corridor, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 8 inches.
“Even this relatively small amount of snow is enough to lead to issues on roads. Those who are traveling, including those commuting to and from work, will want to allow for extra travel time,” Thornton explained.
Another factor that could enhance impacts is the bitterly cold air that will arrive later in the week. While light snow accumulations like this can often melt quickly within a day or two, that may not be the case this time around.
In Kansas City, temperatures are unlikely to get above the 20s F on Tuesday and Wednesday, before plunging into the single digits to end the work week. Overnight lows may turn brutal downwards, dropping below zero during the early morning hours.
Plus, this is not the only chance of snow in the upcoming week for the central United States. Another, more powerful storm is set to arrive later in the week, offering the next chance for snow accumulation. With these two storms moving through, those desiring a white Christmas may be in luck this year.
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