The Lawrence area has been placed under a winter storm warning through 6 a.m. Thursday. And by the time it's over, there will be six to eight inches of snow on the ground - with some areas getting even more, said Matt Sayers, 6News meteorologist.
The National Weather Service says any winds this afternoon will cause reduced visibility and some drifting. Roads, bridges and overpasses will become slick and hazardous, with accumulations making travel difficult. The warning area includes Douglas, Jefferson, Shawnee, Franklin, Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties.
By 4 p.m., Lawrence police dispatchers reported there had been 40 traffic accidents related to the snow in Douglas County since the snow started about 7:20 a.m. Franklin County reported six to eight accidents.
Lawrence Police Sgt. Jim Haller, who was out on patrol today, said he saw dozens of minor bumps and dings between cars skidding on snowy streets.
"It's just been bad all over town today," Haller said. "Just a lot of minor accidents, nothing major."
Haller said that sand trucks were out in force, but a quick drive around town in the early afternoon turned up untouched, slushy roadways.
But, sand truck or not, the weather triggers an annual tradition: The first flakes of the year means drivers reacquainting themselves with countersteering, feathering the gas and tapping the brakes.
"First snow of the season," Haller said. "People just need to be careful out there."
Winter weather information
At 6 p.m., the temperature was 12 degrees, the humidity was 80 percent and winds were calm. Skies were overcast and Lawrence was getting a light snow. Lawrence had three to four inches of snow.
"During the evening, we expect more moisture to move into the system and that's really going to help the intensity of the snow fall," Sayers said.
The heaviest snow will occur between around 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., leaving six to eight inches behind in Douglas County, he said
"We could see a few isolated areas higher than that, especially toward the Kansas City area," he said.
The snow will taper off tonight, with very few flakes on Thursday morning, he said.
"For the most part tomorrow, I think we're going to be just cleaning up from the mess," he said.
Thursday's early morning low will be 4 degrees, with overcast skies and snow on the ground, Sayers said. Thursday's high will reach only 17 degrees, with northwest winds 5 to 10 mph.
Friday will be the coldest morning of the week, starting off near sunrise at zero degrees.
Friday's high temperature will reach 30 degrees in the afternoon, under mostly sunny skies.