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Winter storm warning continues for Leavenworth, Jefferson counties, downgraded to winter weather advisory in Douglas County

The rain is changing back over to snow, in what will probably be the most intense section of this storm system that the Lawrence area will have to deal with. Expect periodic heavy snow tonight, bitterly cold temperature and high winds, which will make driving in the morning difficult.

December 8, 2009, 12:00 a.m. Updated December 8, 2009, 9:37 p.m.

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Winter weather a slippery situation for motorists

This Toyota Camry slid off the road and into the woods Wednesday morning near the intersection of Inverness and Heritage drives in west Lawrence. Enlarge video

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Adrian Senestraro, a detailer at Ellena Honda, brushes off snow from an overnight winter storm Tuesday.

Adrian Senestraro, a detailer at Ellena Honda, brushes off snow from an overnight winter storm Tuesday.

A city public works sand truck travels east on 19th Street on Tuesday morning, spreading sand on intersections during a light sleet.

A city public works sand truck travels east on 19th Street on Tuesday morning, spreading sand on intersections during a light sleet.

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9:34 p.m. The latest update from the National Weather Service continues the winter weather advisory until 6 a.m., but predicts just less than 1 inch of additional accumulation by midnight.

Winds are expected to be out of the northwest at 20-30 mph, gusting to 40 mph, dropping wind chills to -5 to -10 degrees.

With that cold weather in mind, and given much higher snow totals north of Lawrence, school districts Tuesday night were already canceling classes.

9:05 p.m. Bundle up. That's the advice from 6News Meteorologist Matt Elwell. The storm system that plagued northeast Kansas since late Monday will be completely out of the area by late Wednesday morning, but that doesn't mean we're out of the woods from the icy weather. "Temperatures will be falling throughout the day, and you couple that with a strong northwest wind, and we'll have wind chills dipping below zero at times," Elwell said. "It's going to be brutal, at least through Thursday." Temperatures during the day Wednesday and Thursday aren't expected above 25 degrees. The mercury is not expected above freezing until Friday, Elwell said. By the weekend, the forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 30s.

8:00 p.m. Snow continues to fall downtown and around the area, leading to wet and messy roadways. The concern overnight will be the bitterly cold temperatures and a high wind that could make visibility a problem for drivers.

3:30 p.m. 6News Chief Meteorologist Matt Elwell said Douglas County and Lawrence is looking at probably 3 more inches of snow tonight, bringing the total for the storm to about 4 inches.

Elwell said to look for the rain to turn over to all snow in Lawrence within the next couple of hours. He said western areas of Douglas County were already seeing mostly snow.

2:50 p.m. The National Weather Service has ended the winter storm warning for Douglas County, as well as Osage and Lyon counties.

The area remains under a winter weather advisory. Ice and sleet, as well as some snow, are still expected this afternoon, but further accumulation is expected to be limited to 1-3 inches.

Areas just north and west, including Leavenworth, Jefferson and Shawnee counties remain under a winter storm warning and can expect 4-9 inches of snow.

1:01 p.m. The National Weather Service has downgraded its projection to be more in line with what 6News Chief Meteorologist Matt Elwell has been predicting. About 4-9 inches of snow are predicted in the area immediately south of Oskaloosa.

At this time, most precipitation is falling as a cold rain, but precipitation is expected to turn to snow later into the afternoon and evening, with winds picking up reducing visibility.

The winter storm warning remains in effect.

8:13 a.m. 6News Chief Meteorologist Matt Elwell is predicting total accumulation of 2-5 inches today, with snow resuming later this morning, and being followed by waves of heavier snow, before tapering off in the evening.

7:45 a.m. The National Weather Service has upped the snow forecast for the area to a total of 7-12 inches along a line from Herington to Lawrence, with localized total as high as 15 inches.

6News Chief Meteorologist Matt Elwell, however, is still advising we'll likely see lower amounts. So far, about 1/2 inch has accumulated on roads, about an inch on grassy surfaces, he said.

Roads in the area are slick, though most city streets are free of snow. According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, the Kansas Turnpike, U.S. Highway 40 and the South Lawrence Trafficway are completely snowpacked.

U.S. 59 and Kansas Highway 10 east of town are partly snowpacked.

Roads should be fine for the morning commute, but plan some extra time.

Several school districts have also announced closings.

6:34 a.m.

The snow has tapered off for the time being but be careful driving as the roads are slick. Veritas Christian School as well as USD 341, 342 and 343 have canceled Tuesday classes.

4:07 a.m.

Precipitation measurements from overnight show about 3/4 to one inch of snow has fallen in Lawrence. The warm air that looked to move through the area doesn't seem to be following quite the same path. Residents can expect to get a little more snow and a little less rain and winter mix. Total estimated snowfall for the day should be in the range of two to five inches.

City crews are distributing sand on roads already this morning, but road conditions are still less than ideal. The Kansas Department of Transportation shows sections of K10 and K32, along with sections of U.S. highways 24, 40, 56 and 59 have patches of packed snow and ice.

12:00 a.m.

Douglas County officially entered the winter storm warning forecast by the National Weather Service Monday night. The storm warning calls for as much as seven inches of snow to accumulate during the day today. We'll keep up with hazardous driving conditions, but you can check them here too.

6News Chief Meteorologist Matt Elwell said Lawrence residents could expect one or two inches to fall overnight. The snow should taper off by Tuesday afternoon thanks to some 'warmer' air moving through the system. The air will be warm enough for the precipitation to change to either rain or a winter mix.

The temperatures Tuesday are expected to reach a high near 33 degrees, but the wind coming as a result of the fast-moving weather system may make it feel colder. Snow is expected to fall again as Tuesday evening approaches.

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Comments

sully97 5 years ago

So around 5-7 inches of snow and ice accumulation with the majority of the accumulation occuring throughout the day--in other words, just AFTER everyone is at work/school, which will make going home a nightmare. Why aren't Lawrence schools/KU taking proactive action and using good judgement when we know what's coming our way?

Given how congested these streets are, how poor our sidewalk system is, and how bad many of the drivers are here, can someone please explain to me why there isn't a proactive safety policy in the city of Lawrence? Is 1 or 2 days really worth the risk? How many more people need to get run down before the city takes public safety seriously?

gccs14r 5 years ago

Did the LJW reporter who wrote this go outside first? I don't know what it looks like in the rest of the city, but over here on the east side the roads are just wet and there's maybe 1/4" of snow in the grass.

Danielle Brunin 5 years ago

Roads aren't bad at all until about halfway to Topeka.

Jodi_B 5 years ago

I took K-10 to Kansas City today and it was completely clear and pretty dry. Very smooth drive.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Shouldn't this be called a "late fall" storm warning?

mudd 5 years ago

Amazing! I live in Grantville, which is about 8 miles east from North Topeka, and we have just about 3 inches of snow.The roads are snow packed and very slow-moving. It's usually only about a 30 minute drive to Lawrence from me but today it sounds like it's going to take a bit longer.

Boston_Corbett 5 years ago

.....here come the school-closing whiners.....

overthemoon 5 years ago

what the heck is "unknown precipitation"

ooblick?

feetup 5 years ago

what kills me is chan 5 'tornady katie' whipping everyone in to a frenzy. if it snows it snows. they are unable tell us how much will fall where exactly anyway. if you live in kansas you know what to do before a snow fall of any accumulation. 90% of us already have our snow prep done. if you don't have your plan in place by now(early december for cryin out loud) for snow/ice for getting to work or whereever it sucks to be you. just give me the facts and let me get on with my day.guess she has to justify her hazard pay.

feetup 5 years ago

but hey....lets be careful out there!

Mel Briscoe 5 years ago

we got 4 inches of the white stuff here in salina so i am sure that more is headed eastwardly. have fun w/ that. lol

gccs14r 5 years ago

Let me know when it's a foot or more. Then I'll think about staying home.

4getabouit 5 years ago

Right on "feetup." Katie Horner makes me laugh with her " we're all gonna die" routine when the weather changes. Huge overreactions to regular winter weather. No wonder people get worked up.

jonas_opines 5 years ago

"we got 4 inches of the white stuff here in salina"

Sounds like a hell of a party.

Katie Horner is practically a bi-word here, by now.

xfactor 5 years ago

I could understand if meteorologists merely say there is a potential for hazardous winter conditions, but that they will not know specifics until a later time when the system is close to our area. What I don't understand is why meteorologists try to give specific snowfall amounts a day or two out. As I went to bed last night I checked the NOAA website and they were predicting a minimum of 8 inches of snow and a maximum of 13 inches by Wednesday morning. It is now 3:45 p.m on Tuesday and their predictions have changed to a minimum of 3 inches and a maximum of 7 inches. They know the weather models change and weather is a fluid process, but they still like to throw out numbers.

Jonathan Kealing 5 years ago

Xfactor--

For what it's worth, Matt Elwell's been saying all along we were looking at 2-4", with 5" on the outside. He's been pretty remarkably accurate.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

4getabouit 5 years ago

sully97 (Anonymous) says…

So around 5-7 inches of snow and ice accumulation with the majority of the accumulation occuring throughout the day—in other words, just AFTER everyone is at work/school, which will make going home a nightmare. Why aren't Lawrence schools/KU taking proactive action and using good judgement when we know what's coming our way?

Apparently KU and and the USD did use good judgement by not OVER REACTING to a long range forecast. Thank you KU and LPS for using reason vs. panic.

xfactor 5 years ago

Glad to hear that. Way to go Matt.

feetup 5 years ago

guess i should be listening to Matt and not katie huh. good job Matt.

unklemonkey 5 years ago

usd497, cancel school. it was bad enough getting my kids there today.

Danielle Brunin 5 years ago

Winter weather is a B**** to forecast. Way to nail it, Matt!

Staci Dark Simpson 5 years ago

Lawrence won't call school. Even with dangerous wind chills and slick roads they won't call it. It pretty much has to be armageddon before they call it.

bearded_gnome 5 years ago

didn't qualify for warning, IMHO.

good job Matt.

and I think Sully and a couple others need to find a chillpill.

Matt Elwell 5 years ago

Thanks bearded_gnome. I think we've been pretty close on predictions for the Lawrence area.

Next round of snow will move in before midnight and could leave an addional inch of snow. That would bring our grand total for this storm around 3".

Matt Elwell 6News Chief Meteorologist

kusp8 5 years ago

Dangit Matt I was hopin for a snow day tomorrow.

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