The biggest snowstorm of the year waited until the fourth day of spring to blast northeast Kansas on Friday.
The snowstorm, which included some heavy thunder in early evening, dumped between 4 and 9 inches of snow between Topeka and Kansas City Friday afternoon and Friday night.
Reports from Lawrence indicated that the storm left different amounts of snow at different places, but the offical reporting station at Kansas University reported 4 inches on the ground this morning.
A dispatcher with the Lawrence Police Department reported 14 accidents between 4 p.m. and midnight Friday, although none were reported to involve serious injuries. Another three accidents were reported between midnight and 8 a.m. today, including a pedestrian struck by a car. The dispatcher said only minor injuries occurred.
STEVE SCHURR, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka, said Kansas City was the hardest hit by the storm, with 9 inches on the ground this morning. He said 7 inches fell in Topeka.
Other reports included 8 inches of snow in Lecompton and 5 inches in Eudora.
The snow began falling about 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, and stopped around midnight, Schurr said. He said it was caused by cold air from the north meeting up with warm, moist air aloft.
"Arctic air blasted into us," Schurr said. "Just two days ago we had a high of 60 (degrees). Cold air undercut warm air aloft."
SCHURR SAID no additional accumulation was expected for the rest of the weekend. He said today's high is expected to be 30 degrees, and tonight the temperature should drop into the teens.
Sunday's expected high of 40 should melt some of the snow, Schurr said.
Both city and county crews began battling to clear streets as soon as the snow began falling. Butch Silvers, street supervisor in Lawrence, said plows had cleared some of the major streets by 8 a.m. this morning, but other streets remained snow packed and slippery.
Silvers said chemicals had been put on residential streets, which should help melt snow once the sun warmed things up and traffic increased.
SILVERS SAID the city has plenty of salt and chemicals to treat the streets.
"This is the most snow we've had this year, and even into last year," he said.
Steve Lewis, a dispatcher for the Douglas County Sheriff's Department, said county crews have also been out since the snow started. But he said that as of this morning, most roads in the county remained snow-packed and slippery.
Lewis said only one lane of Kansas Highway 10 was open this morning both westbound and eastbound.
THE SLIPPERY streets kept tow trucks busy Friday night. Gary Robertson, co-manager of Hillcrest Wrecker in Lawrence, said crews "were swamped" with calls.
"They had a lot of people off into ditches, and a few accidents," he said.
The storm forced many travelers from the highways; both the Holiday Inn Holidome and the University Quality Inn reported a number of people pulling off the Kansas Turnpike seeking shelter.
Carol Adams, front desk clerk at the Holiday Inn Holidome, said a steady stream of people came in from the Kansas Turnpike. She said the Holidome was full because of a convention, and she directed travelers to other motels in the area.
A NUMBER of meetings at Kansas University were canceled by the storm, including a meeting of the Classified Senate with Douglas County Legislators. A scuba diving class and a Sailing Club meeting were also canceled, along with a regional leadership conference of the Hispanic Professional Engineers.
None of the meetings had been rescheduled as of this morning.
In addition, Kansas University buses did not run today.