It was a slick way to start a new year.
Slick, but not pleasant. Freezing rain starting falling Friday night and coated the city with a sheet of ice that made travel in Lawrence and eastern Kansas treacherous.
The first weekend of 1993 promises more unpleasant weather.
Don Rogers, a meteorologist with the U.S. Weather Service in Topeka, said the storm was over for today and temperatures are expected to rise above 32 degrees, thawing ice on the streets temporarily.
However, another cold front is moving this way, he said. Rain is expected Sunday, turning to freezing rain or snow by Sunday night or Monday morning.
Lawrence police reported six ice-related accidents overnight. Three resulted when motorists were unable to stop their vehicles in time to prevent striking the car in front of them. Three reports involved drivers losing control of their vehicles and hitting parked cars.
There were no reported injuries.
CITY CREWS started tackling the sheet of ice on streets throughout town at about 8:30 p.m. Friday and worked all night spreading salt and a salt-sand mixture.
"We've gone over all the main streets a couple times and we've done most of the residential neighborhoods," said Earl Silvers, a supervisor.
Because of cold overnight temperatures, crews were forced to treat the same roads repeatedly as the slush froze. "That happened all night," Silvers said. "But the temperatures are starting to warm up."
Traffic was light this morning, Silvers said, making the job easier for road crews. "Thank goodness it's a weekend."
He said roads should be in pretty good shape today. As drivers hit the streets, their vehicles will break up the remaining ice and prevent it from freezing again.
DOUGLAS COUNTY road crews also were battling the ice today with sand and salt.
"It's going real real slow," Frank Hempen, Douglas County public works director, said this morning. "We've had people out since 10 or 10:30 last night and we still haven't reached the far ends of the county roads. It's extremely hazardous out there. All the roads are glazed over."
"We're fighting a real long uphill battle," he said. "I'm sure people in the county will hear this a lot, but they should defer all travel plans unless it's a real emergency."
Hempen said one of the department's trucks slid into a ditch, but wasn't damaged. Both the city and the county road departments said they have plenty of sand and salt on hand to keep the streets treated.
Radio station KANU went off the air for a short time this morning because of the storm, but KPL reported no electric outages.
SHERIFF'S departments in surrounding counties said they'd received numerous reports of minor ice-related incidents, such as cars sliding off the road into a ditch, but no injuries were reported.
In Franklin County, a number of motorists were stranded when Interstate 35 was closed from Ottawa to Emporia. A dispatcher with the Franklin County sheriff's office said motels in Ottawa were full of motorists forced to spend the night in town, and a U.S. armory was opened to provide shelter for the night.