The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for eastern and south-central Kansas, which includes Lawrence and surrounding areas.
Phillip Bills, an NWS forecaster in Topeka, this morning said freezing rain, snow and sleet are expected to strike about midnight and continue through much of Thursday.
"We could have accumulation of ice on trees and power lines up to a half-inch or an inch," he said.
The temperature should remain around 25 degrees until the storm passes, he said, but the mercury might rise again by Friday.
"This should be the last big blow before it gets better," Bills said. "By the weekend, things should start melting and we should have little if any precipitation Friday through Sunday."
John Young, deputy director of Douglas County Public Works, said road crews are ready to tackle inclement overnight weather. "We are prepared, and at this point in time, it looks like we have enough salt and abrasives to handle it," he said. "Whenever the event does start, I'm sure we'll be mobilizing and getting people out there."
OFFICIALS from the city public works department were out inspecting road conditions and were unavailable for comment this morning.
Lawrence mail carriers have encountered some difficulties traversing icy sidewalks and streets, and Postmaster Bill Reynolds said mail delivery has slowed down slightly. "If somebody usually gets their mail at 10 in the morning, they might get it at 11 or 11:30," he said, adding that mail coming into or leaving Lawrence has been on schedule so far.
He urged customers to clear sidewalks and porches leading to their mailboxes to aid delivery.
Area schools were back in session today after hazardous road conditions forced several districts to cancel classes Monday and Tuesday. However, youngsters may get another mini-vacation if the predicted storm takes its toll.
Local law enforcement officials got something of a break Tuesday and this morning, when relatively few accidents were reported.
BAD WEATHER caused traffic problems early Tuesday in the city, but police and sheriff's authorities this morning reported that traffic otherwise was fairly normal.
Lawrence police at 7:57 a.m. Tuesday responded to an injury accident caused by icy roads near 15th and Kasold. Officers reported that a car driven south on Kasold by Lori L. Reasoner, 19, 3310 Rainier, slid into the rear of a southbound car driven by Christopher L. Wertin, 28, 2603 Lakeview Ct.
Officers said Wertin had stopped behind a car that was turning left into the Orchards Corner shopping center. Reasoner told officers that as she approached the turn lane, she saw Wertin's car and slowed down. When she braked, however, the car she was driving slid sideways and collided with Wertin's car. A car behind Reasoner then struck Reasoner's car as the driver tried to avoid the accident.
Reasoner was taken by ambulance to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where she was treated and released. She was cited for inattentive driving.
William T. James, 67, Monticello, Ariz., was taken to LMH after an accident at 10:32 a.m. Tuesday at Sixth and Rockledge.
Police reported that James was northbound on Rockledge and had stopped at the intersection when the car he was driving was struck by a city sanitation truck driven east on Sixth by Kenneth Tibbits, 35, 320 Pleasant.
POLICE REPORTED that Tibbits was turning right onto Rockledge when the truck slid on the ice. No citations were listed on a police report.
No other injury accidents were reported by Lawrence police or the Douglas County Sheriff's Department.
Chris Mulvenon, police spokesman, and sheriff's Capt. Marilyn Malson each said that relatively few accidents were reported Tuesday afternoon and evening or early today.
Dispatchers from Jefferson, Franklin and Leavenworth county sheriff's offices said that as of this morning, no major weather-related accidents had been reported. However, several fatalities resulted from accidents in other parts of the state.
A Walton woman was killed Tuesday when she lost control of her car on an icy road near Newton. It was the fourth death attributed to the weather in Kansas since Monday afternoon.
Sheriff Byron Modder of Harvey County said Shelly Hiebert, 26, suffered head and internal injuries when her car ran out of control three miles north of Newton. Her car turned 180 degrees and went into a ditch, where it struck a tree, the sheriff said.
Three deaths in eastern Kansas were blamed Monday on slick roads caused by freezing rain and mist.
Francis McManamon, 78, and his wife, Mary, 66, of Pleasanton, were killed Monday afternoon in Miami County, the sheriff's office said. The car driven by McManamon skidded on a patch of ice into the path of another vehicle on U.S. 69, about three miles north of the Linn County line.
Virgil A. Southard, 44, of Fulton, was found dead Monday evening in Linn County, the sheriff's office said. The pickup truck he was driving skidded out of control on an icy county road about a mile west of Prescott, overturning in a creek.