Archive for Saturday, December 26, 2009

Snowbound: Rare white Christmas brings frustrations, fun

Despite shovels, pushing and patience, the 6 inches of snow that fell on Lawrence overnight made Christmas Day 2009 a white one. For motorists, though, such as these stacked up at Ousdahl and 23rd streets, the whiteness wasn't exactly a dream come true.

Despite shovels, pushing and patience, the 6 inches of snow that fell on Lawrence overnight made Christmas Day 2009 a white one. For motorists, though, such as these stacked up at Ousdahl and 23rd streets, the whiteness wasn't exactly a dream come true.

December 26, 2009


Newspaper delivery

Many Journal-World subscribers did not receive their newspapers Friday because carriers could not get around in the deep snow. Those newspapers should be delivered with Saturday’s newspaper.

Wintery photos

Have a good shot of a winter wonderland? Send it to us and we'll assemble a gallery of your photos.

Ryan Schneider spent more than four hours in the car with his family Friday morning.

They weren’t traveling anywhere, though. They were stuck.

The four members of the family had attended midnight Mass at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 6001 Bob Billings Parkway. After the service, which ended about 1 a.m. Friday, the family climbed back in the car and headed home. Mother Nature, though, had other plans.

The Toyota Camry that Schneider was driving made it as far as the intersection of Harvard Road and Plymouth Drive before it was impeded by the drifting, mounding snow. After multiple attempts to dislodge the vehicle and failed attempts by area towing companies to reach the car, the Schneiders settled in for Christmas morning in the car.

The Schneiders’ experience was not unique. Throughout the area, many drivers who underestimated the storm’s impact on driving conditions found themselves stranded if they ventured off plowed roadways.

The winter storm that rolled through the area Thursday night dumped more than 6 inches of snow on the city. It is the first snowfall on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in Lawrence in at least two decades.

Even with city crews working 12-hour shifts in an attempt to clear the streets, motorists had to push, pull and tow vehicles throughout the day and night.

Lawrence Police Sgt. Mark Warren said road conditions in Lawrence were better Friday than they were Thursday night, but still not good. He advised that people should stay home unless they absolutely had to drive.

“Even though the roads are better you’re still likely to get stuck,” Warren said. “Even streets that have been plowed have snow blowing onto them.”

Warren said most of the main streets around Lawrence were clear, but many of the side streets had still not been plowed. Warren spent a good portion of the day Friday helping drivers get out of the snow. The number of stranded motorists was difficult to determine.

“I wouldn’t even venture a guess,” Warren said.

The roads were so bad that the city of Lawrence halted all service on its bus system and call-a-ride service for today.

Ed Bloodsworth from the KTKA weather department said that blowing and drifting snow will remain a threat through the day today. With temperatures in the teens and 20s and sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph with higher gusts, travel will remain very difficult and hazardous for much of the area. Drivers are urged to avoid traveling if possible as crews continue to clear roads.

Wind chills will remain in the single digits for most of northeast Kansas this weekend. Skies should begin to clear heading into Sunday, with more sunshine expected. However, temperatures will remain well below freezing, so no snowmelt is expected this weekend.

City officials were urging residents to stay home today. But if you have to leave your home, you might take a page from the Schneiders.

Schneider said his family loaded extra gloves and hats in their car, which turned out to be a good decision. They hunkered down in the vehicle for the night and turned the car on briefly to run the heater as they tried to stay warm and get some sleep.

Sometime between 5:30 and 6 a.m., a driver passing by spotted the stranded vehicle, rescued the family and invited them into his home.

Schneider said his family finally returned home from midnight Mass about 9:30 a.m.

For the Schneiders and many other Lawrence residents, this was a Christmas unlike any other in recent years.

“It’s one we’ll remember, for sure,” Schneider said.

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated when city bus service would be suspended.


youngjayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Kudos to our law enforcement & city road crews who worked through Christmas Eve and Christmas to make life easier for those that had to get out. Blessings to you and your families. Happy Holidays everyone!

BigPrune 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm sorry youngjayhawk but I did have to get out in the stuff yesterday and I didn't see one plow truck. South Iowa Street hadn't been plowed at 10:00AM I know. K-10 was clear as a bell with the exception of minor patches of ice here and there.

Of course in years past the side streets would've been cleared yesterday. I do not fault the limited crews who had to work. I fault the City Administration and their priorities. At least the City paid $15,000 to some non-profit "carbon credit" company to somehow offset the exhaust fumes put out by City vehicles that is supposedly contributing to this so-called "global warming" we are experiencing today.

youngjayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Always a grinch in every crowd ... oh well, you can't win. :-) Our kids traveled (late morning) from their home on the east side of town to our home out northwest, traveling the major arteries; and had little difficulty because the streets had been plowed. Best wishes for a happier 2010, BigPrune!

KU_cynic 8 years, 5 months ago

The Schneider family's decision to spend several hours in their car on Christmas morning -- when they "turned the car on briefly to run the heater as they tried to stay warm and get some sleep" seems like a very dangerous choice that could have ended in frostbite or carbon monoxide poisoning or worse.

They were in a residential neighborhood where anybody who was home would have been delighted tto take them in for the night rather than have them spend the night in the car.

Or, have we become so insular and uncaring a community that the Schneiders would have been correct in assuming that they would have been unwelcome "at the inn", so to speak.

Evan Ridenour 8 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

dtoplikar 8 years, 5 months ago

I think most of us are just not used to getting this much snow. You really don't realize how bad it is until you get into it. My wife and I were going to head off to midnight Mass at Corpus Christi. But we couldn't get out of the driveway, so I guess that saved us from the same fate.
Christmas morning was spent getting frantic calls from daughters trying to get to our house who were stuck in the snow. But everybody made it safely, but warned us not to try to get out. We spent Christmas without the usual hustle and bustle driving around and trying to see all the relatives in one day. It was pleasant just relaxing at home with loved ones and looking at the beautiful snow. Merry Christmas!

leedavid 8 years, 5 months ago

I agree with Eride. Why have all of these weather advisory's if we are not going to pay attention to them. I think it is really bad to risk your life, the life of your family, friends, and put others at risk just because some driver thinks they can make it. Think people! They will have midnight mass again next year. There will be other parties, sales or whatever we think we need to risk everyone's life over. This year it was stupid to go to. OK who is next on the soap box?

sunflour 8 years, 5 months ago

The statement that bus service was halted on Friday is incorrect. The buses don't run on Christmas day, anyway. It is just Saturday that got cancelled for road conditions.

middlemgmt 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm glad the family is okay. I agree with Dave Toplikar. We are just not use to this much snow so we don't know the limits. They are just one of many, many cars that were stuck on Thursday and Friday.

Evan Ridenour 8 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

FlapJack 8 years, 5 months ago

Really? Why are people out when EVERY newscaster told people to stay home. There are a lot of idiots in this town. My street still is not cleared and it is Saturday morning - there are several first responders on my street - hope we don't need them!

ratstar 8 years, 5 months ago

I live in Eudora and have just woken up to the sound of a vehicle spinning its wheels on Cedar Street, a collector street for a pretty large subdivision. When I got off work last night at midnight it was the same story -- several stuck cars on Cedar Street and a symphony of futile wheel-spinning that lasted past 1 a.m. But Winchester Road, the other major collector street for this area, is even worse; we may have been the last vehicle (4 wheel drive) to get through on that street. For some of us, work is not an option, as it apparently is for the Eudora street department. Hope nobody in my neighborhood needs to call an ambulance before spring. I wonder if I can get the National Guard deployed here? This is shameful. Shame on Eudora!

KEITHMILES05 8 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 5 months ago

We can use the moisture. Most cities don't plow the side streets much or at all. Do the same people who want everything plowed each time it snows also demand that taxes be collected to pay for this service? I know, I know, just fire all the managers in the various agencies and there will be plenty of money.

skinny 8 years, 5 months ago

Evidently some of you idiots didn't notice the wind was blowing. Every time the city would plow a street within two hours it had blow shut again buy the blizzard conditions. In other words the city was fighting a losing battle.

It's funny, when the news media advises everyone to stay home everyone runs out and gets stuck and then they want to blame everyone else for their own stupidity!!

I think the City did an excellent job!! Especially on Christmas day !

inspire 8 years, 5 months ago

Keithmile nailed it on the head. Churches should NOT have had services but oh my what would they do without all those donations from parishioners??? Without CC midnight mass, the 'leader' might not have been able to afford his next high end purchase. hmmm

YouPeopleAreCrazy 8 years, 5 months ago

I just thinks it's stupid that the city wants to fine me for not having my sidewalks cleared, yet does nothing to clear the street right out in front of the sidewalk. Absolutely nothing. I could understand if a plow had actually gone by either of the crossing streets outside my house, but not a single one has.

Charlie Bannister 8 years, 5 months ago

We live in Eudora on Alder Court, a cul de sac. They went by and did 12th Street early Christmas Day. It connects right into our street. They could not bother to come in and do our cul de sac. It is now Saturday morning after 9 am. Still no city plow. Street still untouched, even for the first time. Unbelievable. Still snowed in. Glad we do not have an emergency.

YouPeopleAreCrazy 8 years, 5 months ago

"I think the City did an excellent job!! Especially on Christmas day !"

An excellent job at what, exactly?

somedude20 8 years, 5 months ago

boy I cant wait until late Monday night when I get to uncover my car from the KCI parking lot

YouPeopleAreCrazy 8 years, 5 months ago

Nothing says "community" like survival-of-the-fittest.

missmia 8 years, 5 months ago

I don't think the City did a very good job cleaning the streets at all. The snow started Thursday evening and when I got back from KC Friday around 5 it didn't look like they'd plowed anything and I got stuck twice, and also saw several cars that were stuck. When I drove around in Overland Park at noon, which is a much larger city, the roads were clear and much safer than those here.

Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean that everything stops, people still had to get to and from work (which is why I HAD to drive yesterday) and if the buses aren't running, the streets need to be cleared in a timely manner so people can get to work.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 5 months ago

You people act like you have never seen snow before. If you want the street cleared get out there with your shovel.

Bladerunner 8 years, 5 months ago

Still waiting to be dug out. I had to park 3 blocks from my home on the nearest cleared parking lot i could find.

Cody Ochs 8 years, 5 months ago

Some of our gentle readers are whining like KU football players. This is the most snow I have seen fall on Lawrence in quite some time. Of course the road crews are not prepared to handle it all. Also, I don't think the people who went out in this are idiotic. They are just not used to this kind of snow, and so did not expect the conditions they encountered. Especially with the cries of wolf we have received the past couple of weeks from the weather service.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 5 months ago

Seeing continual government critic BigPrune complain about a lack of any service which he wants is pretty laughable.

imastinker 8 years, 5 months ago

Drifting snow can be very dangerous. My wife and I met at my folks house about ten miles from ours having each driven separately that day. We left at about 10:00 to go home and found it quite difficult. I hadn't been paying attention to the snow or I would have left sooner. My four wheel drive one ton pickup with aggressive tires did OK, but it was still a 30mph drive. She followed the tracks I made and was ok in her town car, but she had brand new snow tires with sand bags in the trunk and was following me. She got stuck when she tried to go around the block to the front of the house and I had to pull her out.

The moral of the story here is to be careful. I found a windrow from a snowplow deep enough yesterday that it went over the hood of my pickup.

Frank A Janzen 8 years, 5 months ago

A special thanks to the LJ-World website crew for keeping us informed when we can't -- or don't want to -- get out. And for letting the readers speak up, as usual.

Lukas Warden 8 years, 5 months ago

Good job city of Lawrence for plowing everyone's cars in. Those guys are a bunch of losers!

KU_cynic 8 years, 5 months ago

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angel4dennis 8 years, 5 months ago

McLouth roads aren't pretty either. However, i would love to thank the city crew for coming and clearing the snow from our street and pulling that extra from my driveway so my husband could make it to work today. The crew down here is wonderful, I don't care who disagrees with me. I hope it stops snowing soon tho!

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 5 months ago

As I remember when the forecasts were put in the papers comments were that we would get an inch at the most and it would melt in a couple of hours. It is like when the tornado siren goes off, most people ignore it because most of the time nothing happens.

leedavid 8 years, 5 months ago

Did anyone hear how many total inches of snow we have so far?

KEITHMILES05 8 years, 5 months ago

I will say this again and it won't get deleted. Too many LJWORLD feels it is the "idiot police patrol."

This family took it upon itself to venture out in horrendous conditions. They put their lives at risk only for the purpose of worshipping. Where was the common sense?

There, I said it. Now, leave it alone and take it for what it's worth.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 5 months ago

I keep reading six but I say 10 to 12 in my area,far east side and no I am not counting blowing drifting snow.

dani36921 8 years, 5 months ago

okay so I have to work later today and we still have about a foot of snow on our street. My little nissan sentra has no chance of getting out... is there a number I can call? And I am a little frustrated I haven't seen a plow truck nearby.... I mean I know it was Christmas, but I thought they would be plowing streets today at least. I understand why it wasn't done earlier. My street usually gets plowed fairly quickly.

jj14 8 years, 5 months ago

UM - The snow plows have not even come near my neighborhood, or my parents neighborhood. Cars are stuck ALL over town - everywhere. Yesterday afternoon we high-centered on IOWA STREET. "The main roads are mostly plowed" oh, really????? I wonder if the person who wrote this story wrote it from their livingroom or have they even tried to venture out on Lawrence streets? Hello, it's been 2 days - where are the plows??? I am extremely disappointed in the citys response to this storm. EXTREMELY disappointed. Most of us can just stay home but some of us have to go to work.

ratstar 8 years, 5 months ago

I think the Eudora snowplow is stuck in the snow! Either that, or it can't get around the three cars stuck on Cedar Street at the intersection with 12th. They're gonna have heck to pay playing catch-up to this -- they should have worked yesterday! Was the city trying to avoid paying overtime? When Tom Pyle was mayor, the streets were cleared in a timely manner. Ho ho ho!

Charlie Bannister 8 years, 5 months ago

Between 8 and 10 inches here in Eudora. And to artichokeheart who says to "grab a shovel." Elderly and disabled can't just "grab a shovel." They rely on the people they legitimately pay taxes to, to take care of the snow. I did grab a shovel and my snowblower, but that does not get a cul de sac done, that takes a snow plow. So choke on your words artichoke, you idiot.

kappyblu 8 years, 5 months ago

Is anyone else missing their newspaper deliveries? Has anyone answered the phone at the LJW office? I am aware the residential streets are bad. I was wondering because another story on here said that the papers would be delivered today. I have not been able to get anyone to answer the phone at the LJW office for the past two days. I called during the hours that someone was supposed to be there. If the carriers can't get through (understandable), I would at least like a credit on my account.

Suebell 8 years, 5 months ago

Does anyone know if the area behind the new Walmart has been plowed??

GardenMomma 8 years, 5 months ago

Today I saw a City snow plow truck drive down my street without the plow down. Then it came back the other way - again with no plow down! They did plow yesterday, so I am wondering what the truck was doing. I didn't see sand on the street after if went by. I suppose I could have seen brown sand on white snow. Fortunately most cars that are driving by are doing okay.

However, my street has a corner that is shaped like a cul-de-sac and I still have about 15 to 20 feet of unplowed street in front of my drive way as do two other homes on the turn.

Piggles 8 years, 5 months ago

kappyblu- I called them this morning and she told me the carriers were going to try this afternoon again as some of them have gotten stuck. I live on a dead end street and haven't been able to get out. Also kind of disappointed that I saw 2 snowplows just down my street- why couldn't they of gone another 100 -200 feet and plow the rest??? Oh well that's life I guess...

Chris Ogle 8 years, 5 months ago

I live out in the country, on a gravel road. Our gravel road was plowed before daylight on Christmas Day. Yep.... you guessed it. Someone bitched because they had to shovel the mounded snow blocking the drive....oh well!!!!!

Belinda Rehmer 8 years, 5 months ago

I remember a comparable snow in Lawrence in 1978. (I was 8 months pregnant and moving into a new home with 2 foot of snow on the ground) We may not have had blogging at that time, but these very same comments were flying around then! Everyone complained about the snow plows not coming to their door~ I think the best comment in this whole string was Dave Toplikar's. (Dave or Joe, how many miles of streets vs snow plows does the city of Lawrence have?)

If we use our common sense and only go out if we have to, get our neighbors together (help the elderly and handicapped neighbors) and work at cleaning each others drives and the big "piles" built up by the snow plows etc, we will get through this with positive memories of community and pride! We could possibly even meet new friends grow closer to family!

It saddens me to think this family was stranded in the middle of this highly populated area and didn't feel they could reach out to someone close by. Why couldn't they find a way to get home and come back to get the car later? I certainly would have gotten out to take them home had I been near and known they were stranded...Or they could have hunkered down in my home and at least gotten some sleep in a warm comfortable space till help could get to them!

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 5 months ago

I remember when I lived on Tennessee Street and friends came by to get me for the evening service and even brought a shovel to clear a path to the car. That was very much appreciated. There are those to whom the Christmas Midnight Mass is a very special and joyous event. There were many people out driving Thursday night who did not get stuck. They made it to the church without any problems and considering that Corpus Christi is the huge church over on the west side of town it might be expected that all those streets would be plowed, judging from some comments. At little St. Johns however we just soldier on as best we can.

KEITHMILES05 8 years, 5 months ago

Why are people feeling sorry for the family who ventured out against nature? I feel sorry they didn't have the thought process necessary to make a proper decision. They were held accountable by God and nature which is called a BLIZZARD.

riverdrifter 8 years, 5 months ago

Most all Baldwin streets were plowed yesterday by mid-afternoon. Today they plowed open my alley which was drifted in with 2 1/2 feet of snow before noon. I'm giving the BC public works boyz an 'A' ...

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 5 months ago

baby Jesus buried stuck till the thaw arrives on the plus side dog is loving this and no baby call so did not have to drive in the mess.

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 5 months ago

Lot of frustrations not much fun. Clear the streets damn it. Whoa, I needed to get that out.

basil 8 years, 5 months ago

I predict we won't see a plow on our eastside street until Tuesday, earliest. Mass St. is only 1/2 clear down here.

werekoala 8 years, 5 months ago

I was willing to give the city father credit for doing their best, until we had to drop our son off in Topeka today. I was amazed by the difference. Their major and mid-major arteries were completely clear. Even in the poorer areas...

I think the guys driving are doing the best they can. But I think city management has a form-before-function approach to problem solving, and nothing says "essential services" like budgeting millions for a bioscience incubator, but nothing for snow removal...

stlcards515 8 years, 5 months ago

The major streets were driveable yesterday, but you just couldn't get onto the major streets because they didn't do anything to the side streets. Go to Clinton Parkway and Kasold and check out that intersection, TERRIBLE. It's down to one lane. And when they plow all of that snow down Kasold it just blocks in the intersecting streets with a 4 foot wall of snow which is impossible to get through.

The city gives 48 hours our residents to clear their sidewalks, the city better have every street plowed within 48 hours of the snow. We'll hold up our end if you hold up yours. I know my street has not been plowed yet.

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 5 months ago

Oh my wife said you guys with the snow shoveling facts can put your head against a wall and quickly but firmly stick 'em up your ........

trinity 8 years, 5 months ago

sitting here in my den reading all these snow removal comments...with my sore achy arms and shoulders and also neck...this snow may have appeared "light"-but get out there mid-afternoon when the temp was hovering at 30! that snow was heeeaaavvvvvyyyy. it was very heavy&wet. in my little berg a city guy that was running up&down scraping streets saw us trying to get the pickup dislodged from a snowbank (i put it there, hehe) and got out, helped push the truck out, and then came in&scooped out a drive for us. i love all the bellyachin' about the snow removal or lack thereof in lawrence; if they did manage to run plows up&down all the streets, side&main alike, then i'd bet the ranch there'd be all kinds of pi$$y comments about the huge wall of snow blocking driveways. you just don't get it every way you want it, people. geeeeeez. chillax!

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Christmas 2009 Douglas County by femail 8 years, 5 months ago

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