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Archive for Sunday, January 10, 1993

AREA SNOWED UNDER BY STORM

January 10, 1993

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Nature scored a knockdown over Lawrence on Saturday, when a storm that moved in on Friday dumped 11 inches of snow on the city before finally letting up.

And with Round Two looming in the form of a new storm system expected to hit Monday, city and county officials are thinking conditions may get gloomier before the fight ends.

Earl Silvers, supervisor at the city of Lawrence street maintenance division, said late Saturday that the storm had left roads in "fair to bad" shape.

"Everything we've got is on the road," he said. "We've even gotten some motor graders from private construction companies.

"We've been going since Friday. We never stopped."

Neither, it seemed, would the snow.

GREG ZAMARRIPA, a Kansas University weather observer, said snow fell steadily until about 10 p.m. Saturday. He said that by the time the system had moved through the city, it had dumped at least 11 inches of snow. The last snowfall that came close to that amount, he said, was in 1985.

Zamarripa said he expected to see lingering effects.

"The big problem tonight is going to be drifting," Zamarripa said. "When people get up to go to church tomorrow, they may have some problems."

And on Monday, the city may step into the ring for another round against winter. Zamarripa said Monday's forecast called for a 50 percent chance of freezing rain or snow.

"Round Two is coming," he said.

That was bad news for city and county street crews, which battled snow-covered roads overnight Friday and were laying plans to continue through today.

"WE WERE able to keep up with the major streets, but we weren't able to do anything else," said George Williams, city public works director. "By tomorrow (today) if we don't get any more snow, we ought to be in pretty good shape as far as our No. 1 and No. 2 priorities."

Williams described the top priority as main thoroughfares, such as Sixth, Iowa, 23rd and Massachusetts. The second tier comprises streets such as 15th, 19th, Tennessee and Kentucky.

"We'll be going all day (today) and may be able to cut time back a little on Monday," he said.

Williams said crews had been running all 13 of the city's trucks since about 2 p.m. Friday.

County crews also were going full-bore, said Frank Hempen, county public works director. He said six or seven trucks had been running around the clock.

"WE'RE GOING to work all night," Hempen said. "We'll spend the rest of the night plowing back and scraping all snow off that we can and then applying at least one application of sand and salt to all roads."

Despite their efforts, though, streets remained hazardous.

Shirley Bennett, co-owner of A-1 City Cab, said about 8:30 p.m. that the company was shutting down for the first time since it began operations about five years ago.

Bennett said that on the city's main streets, cab drivers had no problems getting around. But in residential areas, drivers repeatedly were getting stuck.

J.R. Peck, a Kaw Motor and Salvage Co. employee, said wrecker drivers also were reporting poor road conditions.

"They're not the greatest in the world," he said. "The city's definitely got sand down, but they haven't done much about the plowing. It's nothing but a jungle out there."

PECK SAID there were places that wrecker drivers couldn't reach.

"We've already been up on campus on a couple and we couldn't do anything with them," he said.

Rick Grant, an street department employee, said the storm was the worst he had seen during his nine years with the city.

Asked whether workers had been able to keep up with the snow, Grant laughed and said no.

"Right now, we're just putting sand at the stoplights to try to give a little traction," he said.

Earlier in the evening, he said, "We were trying to get into the residential areas, but it was just coming down too fast."

While road crews were scurrying, law enforcement officers were enjoying a relatively quiet evening.

POLICE SGT. Ron Dalquest said there had been few accidents and that drivers seemed to be proceeding cautiously. Shortly after 9 p.m., however, the situation hit home.

Dalquest said a parked and unoccupied police car was struck by another vehicle near Fifth and Michigan. He said the occupant of the car that struck the patrol car was taken by ambulance to Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

The driver's name was not available.

Douglas County Sheriff Loren Anderson said the sheriff's department had been busy but had encountered "no great difficulties."

BUT PROBLEMS may be in store for road crews. Hempen and Williams voiced concerns about sand and salt supplies, which were hit hard by a recent ice storm.

Williams said the city's salt supply may hit the critical stage if Monday's storm develops. The key is whether the city receives a delivery of 250 tons of salt that is supposed to come in on Monday.

"If that comes in, we're OK," he said. "But if we don't get it, we're going to be running short."

Hempen said the county would have to ration its sand and salt today in order to survive Monday.

"I think that if we're careful and use salt and sand supplies judiciously, we can get through Monday," he said.

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