January, historically the driest month of the year, is off to a damp start in its first two days.
Lawrence recorded 0.45 of an inch of rain Wednesday through 7 a.m. today, the Kansas University Weather Service reported. January's average precipitation total is 1.11 inches.
January is one of four months in which the average rainfall is less than 2 inches in Lawrence. February is the second driest with 1.25 inches, December averages 1.44 inches and November's norm is 1.98 inches.
The rainfall has been spread evenly throughout Douglas County. Leo Pollard in Lecompton reported 0.55 of an inch so far in the new year, Clinton Lake has measured 0.48 of an inch and Walter Schwarz, Worden, reported 0.41.
SKIES WERE expected to clear today, bringing warmer and drier weather. The forecast high for Friday is 51, well above the normal high of 38 degrees.
The National Weather Service's extended forecast for Saturday through Monday called for a chance of rain Sunday and near-seasonal temperatures, with highs in the 40s to lower 50s and lows in the 20s to lower 30s.
The just-completed 1991 holiday season was above-average for temperatures. A review of holiday seasons from 1980 to 1990 showed that Lawrence residents have had to celebrate Christmas and New Year's with a variety of weather.
Two years that stand out for their cold were 1983 and 1989. In 1983, a snowy cold snap gripped the city shortly before Christmas, with records of minus 16 set on Dec. 22 and 24. Temperatures warmed slightly from those marks between the holidays, and more snow fell Dec. 27.
THE TEMPERATURES were even colder before Christmas 1989. Three low-record marks were set: minus 10 on Dec. 21, minus 21 on Dec. 22 and minus 20 on Dec. 23. However, the temperature did climb into the low 50s shortly after Christmas, melting the snow cover.
Temperatures also were below-average last year. The city had snow cover from a pre-Christmas storm, and a record of minus 6 on Dec. 30.
In 1987, Lawrence got a white Christmas with 1 inches of snow on Dec. 25. The year of 1984 ended with a 7-inch snowfall on New Year's Eve, which came after a record high of 70 on Dec. 28.
A mix of snow and ice marked the 1980 holidays. In 1982, Lawrence recorded 1 inch of snow on Dec. 27-28. The 1981 holidays had average temperatures and a glaze of ice on Dec. 28.
Above-average temperatures occurred for the 1985, 1986 and 1988 holidays. Post-Christmas shoppers enjoyed a record 60-degree day on Dec. 26, 1988, part of a period of unseasonably warm temperatures.