A white Christmas is still unlikely in Kansas City, but Monday’s rain is forecast to turn to light snow Tuesday with up to an inch and a half falling across the northernmost part of the region by Wednesday.
However, holiday travelers face possible flight delays and bad driving conditions north and east of Kansas City.
Winds, torrential rain, snow, thunderstorms and fog will converge on the East and parts of the Midwest on Christmas Eve and could create major travel delays on the roads and at airports, according to AccuWeather.
Kansas City International Airport officials suggest that travelers check flykci.com for flight information and plan to arrive at their terminals 90 minutes before departure.
Highs in the Kansas City area will be in the upper 30s and lower 40s through Wednesday, said Scott Blair, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. But the forecast for Christmas Day is sunny with a high near 50 degrees, leaving little chance for snow to remain on the ground.
While much of the South, mid-Atlantic and New England will be spared the snow, significant travel delays and dangers will develop in the Midwest and perhaps the Appalachians on Christmas Eve.
The greatest risk for snow-related delays will be across Michigan, Illinois, eastern Missouri and northwestern Indiana during the day Wednesday into Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, a storm is likely to dump large amounts of rain and snow in parts of the northwest U.S. by Wednesday and then move into the Rockies.
The Christmas-New Year’s holiday season is one of the busiest times for long-distance travel in the U.S. with a projected 23 percent increase this year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. About 98.6 million people could make trips of 50 miles or more this holiday season, an increase of 4 percent from last year, according to AAA.
KCI is expecting more than 580,000 passengers during this holiday period.
Chicago will be cooler than the East Coast cities, and it will probably have more rain than snow from the storm. There is a chance snow could fall on some parts of the Mississippi River valley from Illinois to Missouri, said Dave Bowers, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Penn.
“Places that don’t usually get a white Christmas could get one this year, like St. Louis,” Bowers said.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.