It was cold — extremely cold — overnight Wednesday.
But did Lawrence set a record? Well, maybe.
Brian Barjenbruch, meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said the automated sensor at Lawrence Municipal Airport registered minus 15 degrees overnight Wednesday. That sensor has only been in place since 2005, and the coldest temperature measured before this week was minus 6.
On the Kansas University campus, data has been recorded for more than 100 years. The record low was minus 13, set in 1905. Barjenbruch couldn’t confirm Lawrence set a record at that station, but he said it was close.
“It was definitely extremely cold,” he said. “It is infrequent to get this cold.”
Barjenbruch said the extreme temperatures were because of an airmass over Lawrence that came directly from northern Canada, traveling over snow. So it stayed cold.
Despite the frigid temperatures during the last few days, Barjenbruch said we aren’t that far off normal for winter months.
“If you average out all the temperatures, it was actually near average,” he said.
But it hasn’t been average this week, and Midge Grinstead, director of the Lawrence Humane Society, said it’s important to take extra care of animals when temperatures are so cold.
“I suggest they come in or have access to adequate shelter,” she said.
She said when the temperature gets below zero, animals have to go in, whether it be to a barn, a shed or a garage, all which would need proper bedding to keep the animals warm. She suggested straw, which retains their body heat well.
Also important is giving animals water and adequate food.
“Dehydration happens really quickly,” she said. “Lately we’ve seen a lot of not enough food, not enough water.”
These rules go for domestic animals as well as farm animals. This week she said the shelter had received a few calls about dogs, but cats also have a tough time in cold weather. Grinstead said they often get frostbite on their noses or ears. The pads on the bottom of animals’ feet are also problematic and can get damaged quickly.
“It only takes like 10 minutes,” she said.
Chuck Soules, the city’s public works director, said the main residential plowing would be finished Thursday, and crews would return to neighborhoods to remove large piles. He said they would also work on some intersections.
“We’ll be working probably at least all day today and all day tomorrow,” he said on Thursday. “We’ve pushed a lot of snow.”
Barjenbruch said the next few days will warm up and Lawrence could hit 33 degrees by the weekend, but there are very small chances of light snow again. But it’s bad news from there.
“I hate to say it, but it looks like it gets cold again,” he said.