Nearly an inch of snow settled on Lawrence overnight, bringing with it bitterly cold winds, below-normal temperatures and a harsh reminder of what a Kansas December can be like.
Slick streets had law enforcement officers scrambling Sunday evening and this morning to cope with automobile accidents across the city and county.
Lawrence police officers handled at least 13 accidents caused by the snow and ice Sunday evening. Chris Mulvenon, Lawrence police spokesman, said officers also continued to respond to accidents throughout the night.
He said the workload eventually overwhelmed officers, who early today began telling motorists involved in accidents to exchange insurance information and come to the police station to fill out reports.
A Douglas County sheriff's dispatcher said sheriff's deputies were called to at least seven accidents Sunday evening. The dispatcher said five accidents occurred between about 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Two more, she said, occurred between 11 p.m. and midnight.
THE COLD temperatures are not expected to leave the area for at least a week, said a forecaster with the Kansas University Weather Service, the official reporting station for Lawrence.
Forecaster Mark Bogner said this morning that 0.8 of an inch of snow containing .11 of an inch of moisture fell on the area overnight.
He said the snow was the result of a meeting between extremely cold air moving down from the north and what is known in meteorology terms as an "upper air disturbance."
Bogner described the upper air disturbance as a mass of air swirling faster than the air around it, which squeezes moisture out of the air in the form of snow.
The process is much like wringing the water out of a damp towel, Bogner said.
BOGNER SAID more snow is not in his forecast for some time, but he was predicting bone-chilling temperatures for the rest of this week and most of next week.
In fact, he said, the area probably won't see temperatures exceeding the freezing mark until late next week.
According to the longest-range forecast information available to the weather service, Bogner said the area could warm to the upper 20s by midweek, but another cold front is forecast to hit the area Wednesday, driving the temperatures back into the teens and single digits.
Bogner's forecast calls for a low temperature tonight of 2 degrees, but winds should be calm. Tuesday's high temperature is expected to be 21 degrees with southwest winds at 5-11 mph.
Today's high temperature was not expected to exceed 18 degrees, but north winds up to 25 mph were expected to put the wind chill factor at minus 10 degrees.
Much of the same was reported this morning all over the state, where the arctic air mass sent temperatures into the single digits and lower teens nearly statewide.
WIND CHILLS elsewhere in the state were reported as low as 20 to 25 degrees below zero, according to the National Weather Service in Topeka.
Highs Sunday ranged from 53 in Pittsburg to 31 in Horton. Overnight lows ranged from 23 in Horton to 7 in Russell and Emporia.
The bone-chilling night saw 14 homeless people go to the local Salvation Army Church seeking warmth and shelter.
Sue Beers, social service director for the Salvation Army, said this morning that the church has been averaging between 12 and 15 people each night, but that number is expected to grow with the colder weather and the approaching holiday season.
She said the church usually sees more visitors during the holiday, when people become lonely and seek companionship in addition to warmth, food and shelter.
Capt. John Churchill, Salvation Army director, said this morning that the agency hoped to move its service soon from its current location at 946 N.H. down the street to 924 N.H.
Churchill said his plans were to open the new location Jan. 2 and to open a temporary shelter there as early as next week.
The new site originally was scheduled to open in October.