Weather Blog - A Major Winter Storm Is Targeting Kansas City On New Year's Day

Posted at 7:47 AM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-30 09:57:24-05

Good morning bloggers,

We made it through 2020. Well, almost as there are two days left in this very long year. There is a major winter storm targeting Kansas City on New Year's Day. It will be moving our way on New Year's Eve, and it may stay dry until very close to that first moment of 2021. This is a storm for us to take seriously, and be prepared for, as it is stronger and wetter than most of the storm systems in 2020. Cold air will be in place and we are forecasting some significant ice accumulations and possibly significant snow accumulations. Let's take a look.

A Winter Storm Watch has been issued by the National Weather Service. As the new data rolls in today this watch will likely be upgraded to some kind of warning, either an Ice Storm Warning or Winter Storm Warning. The new data is currently rolling in. This map below shows the storm system lifting out of Mexico and tracking our way tomorrow evening. It is still dry as of 5 PM on New Year's Eve, as you can see below:

There is an upper level low that is forming around 10,000 to 30,000 feet above Mexico today. This storm will be tracking our way, and where this upper level low tracks will be of extreme importance to what types of precipitation we receive, and how much. There was a trend for this to target KC with ice and snow, and the overnight data took the storm closer to KC on New Year's Day as you can see below:

The new data took KC out of the snow. Now, this is just one model, but take a look at what just came in:

This is the first model in this morning. And, it had the 1/4" of ice accumulation, but left KC with no snow at all. Now, this model will be updated five more times before this storm even begins in KC, so it has time to change. It would have to shift a bit farther south for KC to get any snow. And, the other models are now coming in, so we will keep you updated.

We just had a wet storm with over an inch liquid, and we needed it badly. Another wet storm would also be beneficial for moisture, but it will be problematic if the ice does indeed materialize.

Kansas City Weather Time-Line:

  • Today: Mostly cloudy with some sunshine filtering through the clouds later today. Northwest winds 10-25 mph and gusty, diminishing later today. High: 36°
  • Tonight: Clear and cold with light winds. Low: 18°
  • New Year's Eve: Mostly sunny and cold. Increasing clouds around sunset. There is a 0% chance of precipitation through 10 PM. The chance goes up to 100% by 2021 with freezing rain the first precipitation type most likely. High: 37°, dropping into the 20s as the rain arrives after midnight.
  • New Year's Day: Cloudy with Freezing rain, sleet, and snow likely. Accumulations of ice may approach 1/2" which could cause some power outages and slick spots. The precipitation may change to heavy snow with the track of heaviest snow still uncertain. Accumulations of over 6" are likely in the heavy snow band.

Concluding thoughts:

This is a storm that is just now forming in Mexico. It will finally be fully developed by the time I am on tonight at 10 PM. The data does not reflect a fully developed storm, because it has not even formed yet. This is a fact! Once the storm forms, then we may get some different tracks and strengths of how this storm will affect us. For now, let's enjoy today! We will update the blog on New Year's Eve! Who is ready to move on to 2021?

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog. We will go in-depth with KC's most accurate forecast on 41 Action News. Have a great December 30th!