The weather outside was frightful Sunday, but it was weather more suited for spring than the Thanksgiving-Christmas season.
Hail, high winds and heavy rain swept through Lawrence twice once during the afternoon and then again during the evening. The city and much of northeastern Kansas were under a tornado watch from about 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Despite wind gusts of 70 mph when the first storm hit shortly before 4 p.m., there were no reports of damage in Lawrence. A second storm roared through the area about 5:45 p.m. bringing heavy rain and hail ranging from pea size to an inch in diameter, 6News meteorologist Jennifer Schack said.
Although Lawrence was spared visits by tornadoes, one did strike Fort Riley, damaging 32 homes in the Ellis Heights area, according to a statement issued by the military base. Portions of the base also lost power, which later was restored. Families were being assisted, and there was no word on injuries.
There were more than a dozen tornadoes sighted in the Manhattan area, Schack said.
"This is very rare," Schack said about the spring-like storms.
Shortly before the afternoon storm moved into Lawrence, skies not only turned dark but also an eerie green.
There were two main theories about the cause of green skies, Schack said. One maintains that the extent of the cloud deck blocks out the blue sky and causes it to look green. The second theory has to do with the amount of the water content.
"The thing is that the water vapor content is so high that it causes it to be green," Schack said.
By the time the storm ended .53 inches of rain had fallen. The hail did not accumulate in Lawrence, but Leavenworth recorded hail accumulation of up to an inch, according to the National Weather Service.
Winter weather information
Douglas County emergency dispatchers had no reports of any serious problems caused by the storms. City and county law enforcement officers were sent to some traffic accidents, but none was serious.
Weather also caused accidents on the Kansas Turnpike, including some in the Lawrence area, but there were no serious injuries turnpike patrol dispatchers said. The accidents, along with the rain and hail, caused traffic to slow down and back up in some areas.
Severe weather around Lawrence was over when the tornado watch expired, Schack said.
Colder weather moved in overnight, and there was a chance of light snow this morning, Schack said. Today's high temperature was expected to reach only 39 degrees.