Multiple Rounds of Rain, Snow and Ice to Spread Across Central, Eastern U.S. New Year’s Week

Published in 28 December, 2020

At a Glance

  • New Year’s week will have two low-pressure systems spreading rain, thunderstorms, snow and ice across the central and eastern U.S.

  • The first low will track from the Southwest into the Plains and Midwest into Wednesday.

  • A second low will bring rain and thunderstorms to the East and possibly more snow and ice to the Midwest late this week.

New Year’s week will be stormy in the central and eastern U.S. as two low-pressure systems spread snow, ice, rain and thunderstorms across those regions.

The first low will track from Southern California to the Plains and Midwest through early week. Welcomed rain is expected in Southern California and parts of the Plains and Midwest will see widespread accumulating snow and some ice.

A second low-pressure system will then develop and track from the South into the Great Lakes mid to late week. Rain and some thunderstorms are expected in the South and East, and a portion of the Midwest could see more snow and ice.

Here’s an overview of what to expect this week.

Forecast: Low #1


Low pressure will track inland across the Southwest through Monday.

Current Radar

This system is bringing some much-needed rain and mountain snow to Southern California, including in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. Some minor flooding is possible, especially near burn scars from the most recent fire seasons.

Snowfall will also spread eastward across parts of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming on Monday.

Monday’s Forecast


Precipitation will become more widespread on Tuesday once this storm emerges east of the Rockies and taps into Gulf of Mexico moisture. That moisture will interact with cold air supplied by a high-pressure system over the Midwest and East.

The result will be a broad area of snowfall spreading from the Front Range of the Rockies into the Central and Northern Plains and upper Midwest. Snowfall will also spread as far north and east as Michigan and Wisconsin by late Tuesday or Tuesday night.

Accumulating snowfall could hamper travel in these areas. This might include Omaha, Nebraska, Des Moines, Iowa, and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

A mix of wintry precipitation, including freezing rain and sleet, could slicken travel for a time from portions of Kansas into northern and central Missouri. Snow changing to a wintry mix should spread as far east as Chicago by late Tuesday or Tuesday night.

Farther south, rain and some thunderstorms will develop in the Southern Plains.

Tuesday’s Forecast


The first low-pressure system will track from the Great Lakes into Canada on Wednesday. At the same time, the second area of low pressure should begin to organize near the western Gulf Coast.

Snow or a mix of rain and snow is possible from the Great Lakes southwestward to parts of Missouri and eastern Kansas.

Rain could extend from the Ohio Valley to parts of Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley. A few severe thunderstorms are possible in southeast Texas.

Wednesday’s Forecast

Snow and Rain Totals (Through Wednesday)

Southern California will see beneficial rain and mountain snow through Monday. Rainfall amounts will be generally less than an inch in most areas.

Light to moderate snowfall accumulations are expected from portions of central Nevada to Utah, Colorado and Wyoming through Monday night.

The heaviest snow in the Plains and upper Midwest Tuesday through Wednesday is forecast from parts of Nebraska into Iowa, southern Wisconsin and northwest Illinois. Some areas could pick up 5 inches or more of snowfall.

Snow and Rain Forecast

(This forecast only covers the expected snow and rain totals through Wednesday.)

Forecast: Low #2

The bulk of the impacts from this second low-pressure system will occur late Wednesday through Friday. Here’s an overview of what to expect, but keep in mind changes are highly likely depending on the exact future track of this system.

Thursday (New Year’s Eve)

On New Year’s Eve, there will be a broad area of precipitation in the South, East and Midwest.

Rain is expected from southern New England to the mid-Atlantic and the Deep South. Severe thunderstorms are possible near the north-central Gulf Coast, especially from eastern Louisiana into the southern halves of Mississippi and Alabama and the Florida Panhandle

Another round of snow and/or ice could develop where this storm’s moisture overlaps with colder air in the Midwest and Great Lakes. Some wintry weather could impact areas as far south as central Texas and parts of Oklahoma.

Portions of the Northeast near the Canadian border could also see some wintry weather.

Thursday’s Forecast

Friday (New Year’s Day)

The forecast for New Year’s Day shows that this storm could still be affecting a broad area of the East as well as portions of the Midwest and Great Lakes.

Snowfall could affect areas from the Ozarks and mid-Mississippi Valley into the Great Lakes, New England and upstate New York.

Rain and thunderstorms are expected from the mid-Atlantic into the Southeast. Severe thunderstorms are possible in parts of the Carolinas and eastern Georgia.

Check back to weather.com for more details on the New Year’s Eve and Day forecast over the next several days.

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