Lawrence and Douglas County escaped the brunt of the first winter storm of this season, but most of the state was not as fortunate.
The city recorded 0.70 inches of rain Thursday and another 0.16 inches of precipitation from the -inches of snow that fell as of 7 a.m. today. One to two inches of snow was expected to accumulate today before ending in the afternoon.
City and county road crews have been dumping sand on streets and roads since 4 a.m. with few problems. City public works director George Williams said seven trucks were sanding city streets. He said his office had received few complaints of poor street conditions.
David Leuty, county operations division manager, said he had a crew working on bridges in the county and also working on icy roads in the western part of the county.
Light snow has accounted for few weather-related traffic accidents in the county. The sheriff's department reported two minor, non-injury accidents in the county this morning.
The Kansas Highway Patrol did not report any accidents on highways in Douglas County, including the Kansas Turnpike.
Lawrence Police Sgt. Mark Warren said there had not been an abnormal amount of accidents reported in the city.
"SO FAR, we've been real lucky," he said.
Other parts of the state can't make that claim, however. Near blizzard conditions swept into central and north central Kansas today on raging northwest winds, leaving much of the state under heavy snow and ice.
Moderate snow was still falling over a good part of the state, east of a line from Smith Center to Russell. Visibility was reduced to near zero at times in the open country with northwest winds gusting to near 40 mph. Roads that are already icy and snowpacked will also have 2- to 3-foot snow drifts in some areas. North to south routes seem to be drifting the worst.
A number of highways and roads were closed temporarily, including Interstate 70 from Russell west to the Colorado border. By Thursday evening, several towns reported about 10 inches of snow, with 12 inches in Gove, just off Interstate 70 in western Kansas.
AN ICE storm that swept into extreme northeast Kansas around 10:30 a.m. Thursday left the area almost paralyzed. The storm was especially heavy in Brown, Jackson, Atchison and Nemaha counties. Some roads were covered by at least 1 inch of sleet.
Police in Hiawatha said the ice ranged from - to -inch on tree limbs and split large trees in half because of the weight on the tree limbs. It also pulled electric meters off the sides of some houses and caused a variety of power interruptions, including a number of electrical fires. Hiawatha Mayor Jim Scherer said he would make a decision this morning on whether to ask the governor for assistance from the National Guard.
Police have asked residents in the area to remain in their homes because of extreme danger from falling tree limbs, power poles and lines.
MIKE SMITH, meteorologist and president of WeatherData Inc., said the weekend would be cold, with highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s. He said the sudden change was because the jet stream turned north to south, bringing arctic winds into the area.
A winter storm warning also is in effect for an area of northwest Missouri extending to the Iowa border.