With only six nights under its belt, November already has broken five low temperature records.
The latest came Wednesday, when the mercury dropped to 13 degrees overnight, edging out the previous record of 19 degrees on that date in 1971. The first four nights of the month also reached all-time low temperatures.
John Woynick, forecaster-meteorologist with the U.S. Weather Service in Topeka, said the recent cold snap is a result of frosty air coming down from Canada that formed a high pressure system, which presently is sitting over western Iowa. The system is expected to start moving east tonight, but new pressure systems affect northeast Kansas weather about every 48 hours, he said.
With light winds and clear skies, there are no clouds to trap warm air on the earth, so heat that builds up during the day radiates into space at night, said Woynick. Tonight's low could get down to 10 degrees, he said.
Although cold temperatures are expected to continue through next week, Woynick said the Lawrence area probably can expect to see some warmer weather before winter settles in for good.
"I would expect some warmer temperatures before Christmas," he said. "Temperatures should get back to normal or even above normal with highs in the 60s possibly."
ACCORDING to the Kansas University Weather Service, Lawrence received 1 inch of snow Wednesday, which translates to 0.06 of an inch of precipitation.
The inclement weather forced city and county road crews to work virtually around the clock to make streets safe for drivers. Larry Wilson, superintendent for Douglas County public works, said crews salted, sanded and plowed slush off county roads until midnight, and then started again at 4 a.m. today. "They're in pretty good shape now," he said.
George Williams, Lawrence public works director, said some sanding equipment malfunctioned "right at the time when we really needed it," but workers remedied the problem in time to salt and sand the city's streets. He said crews worked all night and probably will again tonight if the snow that melts during the day freezes on the streets at night.
DESPITE hazardous road conditions in Lawrence and surrounding areas, few injury accidents were reported. The sheriff's departments in Jefferson and Franklin counties had no reports of injury accidents, and while the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office received 12 reports of accidents overnight, none involved injuries.
In Douglas County, one injury accident was reported Wednesday.
Chris N. McLeroy, 21, 1517 W. Ninth, was treated at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and released after an accident at 6:26 p.m. Wednesday at Ninth and Avalon. McLeroy was driving east on Ninth when he struck the car in front of him driven by Jonathan Cohen, 25, 1517 W. Ninth. Both McLeroy and Cohen told Lawrence police that they were trying to avoid a car that was stopped in front of them driven by Valerie L. Garver, 19, 1506 W. Ninth. Cohen struck Garver's vehicle, which was attempting to make a left onto Avalon. The Garver vehicle was pushed into a telephone pole.
Lawrence tire retailers were keeping busy this morning equipping cars with road-worthy tires for the snowy season. Steve Montgomery, manager of Performance Tire & Wheel of Lawrence, 1828 Mass., said the company was besieged by requests for new tires as soon as the snow started falling Wednesday. "As soon as there's a threat, people flock in here," he said.
STEVE Freeman, manager of Gregg Tire, 814 W. 23rd, said although the snow tire business has fallen off, workers are busy outfitting cars with all-season tires.
Consumers also swarm to hardware stores for winterizing equipment. Keith Aholt, store manager at Westlake Hardware, 23rd and Louisiana, said they've sold out of weather stripping and have "sold a tremendous amount of ice melter and tube sand for weighing down cars." Ice scrapers and snow shovels also are hot items, he said.