It takes a heap of snow to measure up to significant moisture, meaning the Lawrence area would need some major snowfalls to rescue it from the current dry state of affairs.
The Lawrence area received no measurable rain for the entire month of November and has received only a trace of rain on one occasion so far this month. That, basically, adds up to nothing.
The area is nearly 5 inches short of normal rainfall for the year and ended 1988 13 inches shy of normal rainfall amounts.
Mark Bogner, forecaster for the Kansas University Weather Service, said this morning that, as a general rule, about 10 inches of snow are required to equal an inch of moisture. Fewer inches are required if the snow is "wet" and more are needed if the snow is "dry," he said. That means it would take about 4 feet of snow to bring the area up to its normal level of moisture.
BOGNER SAID so much snow is needed to equal an inch of moisture because of the high air content of snow.
"It's really fluffed up and has a lot of air space between the flakes," "Water contains no air, so when the snow is melted down, it takes a lot to make measurable water."
The Lawrence area escaped two threats of snow this week, but snow has re-entered the forecast for Saturday night and Sunday.
Bogner said a cold front containing high amounts of moisture is on the way from the West, which, when coupled with the area's pressure system and what Bogner called an "upper air disturbance," should produce snow.
Bogner described an upper air disturbance as swirling air that forces the moisture out of the atmosphere in the form of snow.
Not all of the necessary conditions for snow were present this week, which is why it did not snow.
THE LOCAL forecast calls for lows in the mid-20s tonight and a high Saturday near 50 degrees. Sunday will cool off considerably with a high of 36 degrees forecast.
But while the snow passed up the Lawrence area, residents of southern Kansas woke up to a snowy world this morning, after a storm moved through and dumped more than a half-foot of powder.
Kansas' first big snowfall of the season Thursday caused dozens of fender-benders as motorists unused to the slippery conditions found their cars skidding out of control.
One serious injury was reported in a crash about 1 p.m. Thursday between three semi-tractor trailers and a pickup truck on the snow-slickened Kansas Turnpike near Mulvane.
``We've had several accidents, all weather-related,'' said Suzanne Preuit, a dispatcher with the Kansas Highway Patrol unit overseeing the turnpike. ``We've got plows out there and sandtrucks.''
The snow was good news for farmers in Wellington and other parts of Sumner County, which, like Lawrence, had received no measurable precipitation the entire month of November.