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On the street
Yeah, snow is always awesome at Christmas.
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Winter weather information
5:07 a.m. Saturday
The National Weather Service has lifted the winter weather advisory for Douglas and surrounding counties. As of early Saturday, Douglas County was not under any severe weather alerts.
The Lawrence public transit system, the T, will not operate Saturday, Dec. 26, because of poor road conditions. People who have pre-scheduled service will be contacted Saturday morning about service.
City street crews are continuing to work around-the-clock on 12-hour shifts. The blowing, drifting snow has made the removal process difficult.
Our area is now expected to get an additional two inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service. The estimate is a slight bump up from the one inch prediction earlier today. City crews continue working to clear the streets, but motorists are still finding themselves stuck on the roads. One officer told Douglas County dispatchers the driving conditions were, "terrible, very very terrible."
The National Weather Service is estimating our area will possibly get as much as another inch of light snow accumulation today. Heading into the evening the chances are about 50 percent that the area will continue to experience light snowfall. Temperatures will most likely remain below 20 degrees with wind chills dipping as low as eight degrees below zero.
The Kansas Department of Transportation is showing most major roads in Douglas County are still snowpacked and icy.
• I -70: Mostly snowpacked/ice
• K-10: Partly snowpacked/ice
• K-32: Mostly snowpacked/ice
• U.S.-24: Mostly snowpacked/ice
• U.S.-40: Partly snowpacked/ice
• U.S.-59: Mostly snowpacked/ice
According to Journal-World circulation manager Chris Bell, customers who haven't received today's paper should receive both today and Saturday's paper on Saturday.
The Kansas Department of Transportation has updated this list of roads in northeast Kansas that are closed because of the winter storm. We'll continue to provide updates to this list and to any problem areas in the city of Lawrence, as they become available, so check back often to LJWorld.com.
• K-16 in Jefferson County is closed as of 10:45 a.m., Friday, Dec. 25, from the K-4 junction to the U-59/K192 junction due to blowing and drifting snow which is causing the roadway to be impassable for drivers.
• K-16 in Pottawatomie County is closed as of 12:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 25, from the city of Blaine to the City of Wheaton due to blowing and drifting snow which is causing the roadway to be impassable for drivers.
• K-16 in Pottawatomie County is closed as of 8:00 a.m., Friday, Dec. 25 from the K-63 junction to the Pottawatomie/Jackson County line due to blowing and drifting snow which is causing the roadway to be impassable for drivers.
• K-20 in Doniphan & Brown Counties is closed as of 11:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 24 from the US-73 Junction to the K-7 Junction due to blowing and drifting snow which is causing the roadway to be impassable for drivers.
• K-62 in Jackson County is closed as of 8:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 25 from the K-16 junction to the K-9 junction due to blowing and drifting snow which is causing the roadway to be impassable for drivers.
• K-63 in Pottawatomie County is closed as of 8:00 a.m., Friday, Dec. 25 from the north city limits of St. Mary’s to the K-16 junction due to blowing and drifting snow which is causing the roadway to be impassable for drivers.
• K-87 in Marshall County is closed from VILLAGE OF VLIETS to the junction of US-36/K-87 as of 3:30 a.m. on Friday, December 25, due to blowing and drifting snow which is causing the roadway to be impassable for drivers.
• K-99 in Marshall County is closed as of 11 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 24 from the junction of K-99/US-36 and 234 to the Kansas/Nebraska state line, snow has drifted the road shut. The roadway is impassable at this time due to blowing and drifting snow.
• K-110 in Marshall County is closed form the junction of US-36/K-110 to south city limits of AXTELL as of 3:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 25, due to blowing and drifting snow which is causing the roadway to be impassable for drivers.
• K-120 in Doniphan County is closed from the junction of K-20/K-120 to the south city limits of Highland as of 3:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 25, due to blowing and drifting snow which is causing the roadway to be impassable for drivers.
• K-187 in Nemaha County is closed from the junction of K-9/K-187 to the junction of US-36/K-187 as of 3:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 25, due to blowing and drifting snow which is causing the roadway to be impassable for drivers.
• K-192 in Jefferson County is closed from the junction of US-59 to the Jefferson/Leavenworth County line as of 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 25 due to blowing and drifting snow which is causing the roadway to be impassable for drivers.
• K-233 in Marshall County is closed as of 9:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 25 from the US-77 junction to the west city limits of Oketo due to blowing and drifting snow which is causing the roadway to be impassable for drivers.
• K-246 in Brown County is closed from the US-75 junction to the west city limits of Morrill as of 3:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 25, due to blowing and drifting snow which is causing the roadway to be impassable for drivers.
The temperature is sitting at 14 degrees and according to the National Weather Service the high will only get to about 20 degrees. Winds will not be helping matters much, as breezes and gusts are expected to make it feel more like single-digit and subzero temperatures. The chance for precipitation today is around 70 percent, and as much as an inch of snow is possible throughout the day.
Snow accumulation in the area is estimated to have been anywhere from four to 10 inches, with drifts likely deeper in some area.
Roads in the area this morning are still pretty much snow-covered. The Kansas Department of Transportation lists roads in northeast Kansas as mostly to completely snowpacked and icy. Just from the early-morning commute to the News Center, here are roads that are clear enough to drive on, should you be heading out today:
6th Street - The road is clear and smaller vehicles have been able to navigate it.
Iowa Street - The southbound lane has been plowed, but the northbound lane is not clear.
31st Street - Most of this road has been cleared. The snow that remains is packed down to the point where cars were not getting stuck.
23rd Street - Most of this road has also been cleared, at least from Iowa down to Massachusetts Street. Getting onto 23rd from the side roads may pose the biggest problem.
Massachusetts Street - Narrow lanes are plowed in both directions, with more roadway clear as you get toward 23rd Street.
Lawrence Avenue - The road has reportedly been cleared
Again, larger or heavier vehicles are going to have a better chance on the roads. Side streets are still not clear, which is where many motorists are getting stuck. If you have to be out and about in Lawrence today, try to plot your course accordingly.
Local road conditions will be updated as the information becomes available.
The National Weather Service has canceled the blizzard warning for Douglas and surrounding counties. The area is now under a winter weather advisory until 6:00 p.m. Friday.
The Kansas Department of Transportation released Friday morning a bulletin detailing the current and expected weather and road conditions.
According to the KDOT release, most of the precipitation has moved out of northeast Kansas but high winds and blowing snow are still making travel a dangerous task. KDOT recommends drivers use caution, allow plenty of driving time, buckle up, turn on headlights and turn off cruise control. Drivers are also reminded to stay a safe distance behind de-icing and snow-clearing vehicles.
Douglas County roads are listed as mostly snowpacked with ice, while the some Topeka and Johnson County roads have been upgraded to wet and slushy.
Weather-wise in and around Lawrence, expect blowing snow and flurries before noon on Christmas Day. The high temperature should reach 14 degrees but wind chills could dip as low as negative nine degrees. The chance of precipitation is listed as 10 percent. A blizzard warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. Friday.
Not many cars dared drive the Lawrence streets overnight, but some motorists had to take to the roads as part of their jobs. Lawrence Police Sgt. Susan Hadl was one of those people.
Hadl said the blizzard made it very difficult for officers to make their way around the city to various calls.
"In all my years at the department I've never seen it incapacitate travel to this extent," Hadl said. "It became very difficult to assist people because once we were there we often found ourselves stuck just like they were.
"It was a challenge for several units to even leave the parking lot of the station. We were thankful we didn't have any major emergencies to attend to."
Aside from the drama provided by the weather, it was a quiet night in Lawrence. Hadl said the police took multiple reports of stranded motorists but only one turned out to be a true accident. Hadl said police units tried to minimize their movement overnight in order to stay out of the way of snowplows and cleaning crews.
The adverse weather conditions are even affecting newspaper carriers this morning:
Due to blizzard conditions and deep snow on city and area roads, the Lawrence Journal-World is able to deliver a limited number of newspapers to subscribers Friday morning.
With snow drifts stalling vehicles in and around the city since Thursday evening, roads prevented Journal-World carriers from traveling their complete routes early Friday.
According to Journal-World circulation manager Chris Bell, carriers were not able to traverse numerous routes and multiple carriers' vehicles became stuck in high snow. Some deliveries were completed as usual despite the snow.
A little perspective on just how poor the driving conditions are this early Christmas a.m.:
When asked by a dispatcher to describe the current conditions on Kansas Highway 10, an officer said just one word: "Horrible."
Douglas County is still under a blizzard warning. Temperatures have dipped to about 15 degrees while winds are currently at about 20 miles per hour, making the outdoors a very, very unpleasant place. And a look at the weather map suggests there's more snow to come for Lawrence this morning.
It's the dead of night and the blizzard is raging on, but street cleanup crews are hard at work in Lawrence.
According to officers chatting on the scanner, snowplows have worked on or are busy working on sections of Iowa, Connecticut and Massachusetts streets.
That does not mean leaving the house is advisable for any reason. Even if some roadways are passable, others may not be tonight.
The ride home from work, which usually takes 20 minutes, took 6News/Journal-World reporter Jesse Fray two hours tonight. It's a story playing out throughout Douglas County this morning.
"The road crews can't keep up with the out-of-control snow drifts," Fray said. "I've never seen anything like it."
Thankfully two strangers were able to push Fray away from being stuck and he was able to find an empty parking lot to leave his car.
"A friend came and got me in his SUV, but it ended up getting stuck as well, in the middle of an apartment complex street," Fray said. "My advice: Don't head out unless you absolutely have to."
Portion of Kansas Highways 99 near the Nebraska border, K-16 north of Wamego and K-20 east of Horton are all closed because of heavy and drifting snow.
Across Douglas County, roads are completely snowpacked. Several drivers have reported very challenging conditions when taking to the roads.
About 29 Westar Energy customers in Douglas County are currently without power.
According to the utility's Web site, the outage is concentrated in the area south of 23rd Street near Massachusetts Street.
The National Weather Service is predicting 6 to 10 inches of snow before the storm is done, with the possibility for locally higher amount.
Several drivers around Lawrence have reported their vehicles being stuck on city streets because of snow drifts.
If you can avoid it, stay off the area roads.
If you were dreaming of a white Christmas, may your days be merry and bright.
Mother Nature brought blizzard-like conditions as she packed a holiday punch Thursday, whirling multiple inches of snow into the area in a major winter storm expected to linger today.
“This is a significant snow, the biggest one in years,” said 6News meteorologist Greg Postel, who expected between 6 and 9 inches of snow would be dumped on Lawrence when all is said and done tonight. The snow sits atop a quarter-inch of ice that accumulated before the sun set Thursday.
Douglas, Shawnee, Franklin and Jefferson are among the counties in the area that remain in a blizzard warning through 6 p.m. today. Kansas joined nine other states that had blizzard warnings issued because of the storm stretching 1,000 miles from northern Texas to Minnesota.
As winter weather conditions worsened Thursday, it forced many Christmas Eve church services in the area to be called off. Kansas University officials shut down the campus at noon, and Gov. Mark Parkinson closed state offices at 2 p.m. in Shawnee County because of worsening weather conditions.
Heavy snow after dark was expected to produce a dangerous situation for overnight travelers across northeast Kansas. The treacherous road conditions were expected to continue today, when, Postel said, the high temperature would struggle to reach 21 degrees, with wind chill values dipping down to minus 5 degrees.
Despite deteriorating road conditions, some travelers on the Kansas Turnpike on Thursday afternoon weren’t letting anything stand in the way of their Christmas travels.
“You hate not to go for Christmas, and that’s exactly why we’re on the road because I told my mom I’d come down,” said Mary Hyland, of Hampton, Iowa, who was headed to Topeka.
Emergency workers kept busy along sections of the Kansas Turnpike in Douglas County on Thursday, responding to vehicle slide-offs in the area, including a car that slammed into the retaining wall and a van that slid into a ditch.
“I come from South Dakota, so this is normal,” said Clem Ironwing, a traveler form Wichita, as he refilled his windshield wiper fluid at the Lawrence rest area on the turnpike. “But, people that don’t drive in it freak themselves out, hit the brakes.”
Douglas County dispatchers said emergency workers responded to 48 calls for help from drivers who had been in accidents or were stranded between noon and 9 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Four injury accidents were reported, but none were major. Several people were stuck Thursday night on the hilly areas of Bob Billings Parkway, between Iowa and Kasold.
Slippery roads are blamed for at least 14 deaths in the state, including five in western Kansas.
Kansas highway officials said the falling snow, blowing winds and dropping temperatures were hampering efforts to clear the roads in northeast Kansas.
“Drifting is a huge problem, and it is proving to be extremely difficult to get roadways cleared and keep them that way,” said Kim Qualls, Kansas Department of Transportation spokeswoman.
Kansas National Guard soldiers were notified of the potential need of disaster response from the storm, said Sharon Watson, guard spokeswoman.
Three airports — in Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas — were closed Thursday because of the storm.
— Jesse Fray
The roads are treacherous as of 11:15 p.m. Snow, on top of snow, on top of ice, on top of more ice means slow going on most well-worn Lawrence streets and no-going in some parking lots and minor thoroughfares.
According to 6News meteorologist Greg Postel, snow could keep falling the Lawrence area at the same rate as it is now — moderate — until anywhere from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m.
After that, snow should taper off a bit with flurries and light snow showers prevailing through Christmas Day.