Archive for Thursday, February 21, 2013

More snow on the way tonight; Lawrence schools, KU, others closed Friday

City crews stopped to help a motorist at the intersection of Vermont and Seventh streets about 8 a.m. Thursday.

City crews stopped to help a motorist at the intersection of Vermont and Seventh streets about 8 a.m. Thursday.

February 21, 2013, 8:53 a.m. Updated February 21, 2013, 6:13 p.m.


Safety tips

The Kansas Department of Emergency Management provided these tips to stay safe during the storm:

• Prepare an emergency home preparedness kit with food, water and other essentials, such as medication.

• If your power goes out, and must use a gasoline generator, keep the generator outside and away from your home.

• Drive only if necessary and have a winter kit ready, which should include ice scrapers, blankets, flashlights, jumper cables, a tow rope and matches.

Still digging out from a quick 8-10 inches of snow that fell this morning, Lawrence is in for still more wintry precipitation tonight.

The National Weather Service is forecasting another 1-3 inches of snow before midnight, along with freezing drizzle and icy temperatures that will keep roads and sidewalks slick through Friday.

The frozen weather isn't expected to break until Sunday, when temperatures are forecast to rise into the low 40s—though there's more wintry mix in Monday's forecast.

Local school systems and other organizations, including Lawrence public schools and Kansas University, wasted no time calling off Friday's classes and activities, after a snow day today. The city's Final Fridays event was also canceled.

City and county road crews were out in full force trying to get streets cleared. City crews, after pre-treating roads Wednesday into Thursday, began plowing city streets around noon, said Megan Gilliland, the city's communications manager. Crews will start with primary and secondary roads, and plan on starting on residential neighborhoods after midnight.

Lawrence resident Susan Thomas, who took advantage of the break in the storm at midday to do some shopping at The Merc, 901 Iowa St., said the major roads she had been on so far had been plowed, but side streets still looked treacherous. “If we didn’t have a four-wheel drive, we wouldn’t even think of trying it,” she said.

Thomas said she wanted to get some water, some eggs and some snacks from her family. “I have kids at home, so hopefully we’ll do some sledding and make some cookies,” she said.

Sledding — and perhaps a bit of shoveling — was on the minds of customers at Cottin's Hardware and Rental, 1832 Massachusetts St. Cody Stratton, an employee at the store, said a steady stream of customers came to the store during the storm. He said the hardware store fortunately had received a fresh shipment of winter supplies earlier in the day.

Stratton said it seemed people perhaps had playing more than working on their minds at the moment.

"If anything, we may run out of sleds," Stratton said. "People are coming in for a lot of them. But we have a lot of snow shovels and ice melt."

Several businesses remained open in Lawrence despite the snowfall, and a few brave souls were frequenting them.

“We’ve maybe had 20 people this morning,” said Zac Hamlin, front end customer service manager for The Merc. “This is as definitely as slow as I have seen it.”

Hamilin said he used his Jeep to take several employees from The Merc to their homes around 9 a.m. He said it did not take long for conditions to deteriorate.

“At 9 a.m. there were still quite a few people out,” said Hamlin, who said he’s lucky to live essentially across the street from The Merc. “By 10 a.m., most people had decided it was foolishness.”

Hamlin said people who are thinking of coming to The Merc may want to call first. The store is staying open on an hour-to-hour basis at this point.

One place where there’s no such thing as a “snow day” is Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where doctors, nurses and others who provide care can’t exactly work from home.

On days like Thursday, folks at the hospital band together to make sure they can get to work, said Janice Early, the hospital’s director of community relations.

One nurse with a four-wheel-drive vehicle volunteered to pick up any of her coworkers who couldn’t get themselves to the hospital or back home, Early said.

“We’re kind of more like a family, and people look out for each other,” Early said.

All the hospital’s non-essential services closed by noon Thursday, Early said, but all regularly scheduled doctors and nurses are there to offer all essential services. All physicians’ practices affiliated with the hospital, though, are closed.

As of about noon there were about 90 patients in the hospital, Early said. If they’re due to be discharged but can’t make it home, they’ll be able to stay longer.

That goes for the staff, too: If they fear heading out on the roads, they can simply sleep at the hospital. Some staff already did so Wednesday night.

“We have beds you can sleep in,” Early said. “We have a cafeteria to make food.”

Only nine patients had come into the emergency room by about noon Thursday, Early said, though the pace was picking up as the snow paused at mid-day.

“It’s just a matter of being able to get there,” Early said, but the community can be assured that the hospital is ready to provide any care they might need.

Heavy snow began falling in Lawrence just after 7 a.m. Thursday. As of 10 a.m., snowfall estimates in Lawrence were more than nine inches in some areas, according to the National Weather Service. The storm even featured a rare weather phenomenon known as thundersnow — a combination of snow and thunder — that boomed around Lawrence about 6:30 a.m.

Total snow accumulation could reach up to 12 inches, but the storm should pass by midnight, according to the NWS.

Lawrence roads have been snowpacked all day, as are major highways and other roads in the state, including Interstate 70 and Kansas Highway 10.

Westbound lanes of I-70 — between Hays and Salina — were closed because of the high number of accidents. And at 3 p.m., the Kansas Department of Transportation closed the eastbound lanes of I-70 between Colby and Salina.

Locally, the road over the Clinton Lake Dam was closed to traffic for several hours on Thursday.

And Douglas County emergency dispatchers have been sending out medical and law enforcement personnel to numerous traffic and motorist assist calls, but there don't appear to be any initial reports of serious injury accidents.

"Vehicles are getting stuck right and left," said Lawrence Police Sgt. Trent McKinley.

Gov. Sam Brownback Thursday urged Kansans to stay off roads after heavy snowfall created hazardous weather conditions across the state.

"Stay home, play board games," said Brownback, who provided updates on conditions statewide. "Drink another cup of coffee."


Mike Edson 5 years, 1 month ago

Attempted to go to work, but couldn't shovel fast enough.

George_Braziller 5 years, 1 month ago

I went out and shoveled my sidewalk about an hour ago just so there won't be as much to deal with when it finally stops snowing. It's not heavy but it's exhausting because of the volume that has to be moved.

Beth Ennis 5 years, 1 month ago

George, we found out that powder may be lighter than the wet stuff, when there is almost 10" of it, it's still pretty darned heavy. We are exhausted too!

jj14 5 years, 1 month ago

LJW, how 'bout an update on Lawrence snow totals?? Isn't that what everyone wants to know? How much snow so far? Why don't you post it for us and keep it updated??? Thanks!!

Lawrence_Pilot 5 years, 1 month ago

Well, what about you? How much do you have? Post it here.

Sean Livingstone 5 years, 1 month ago

You can get this information on Weather Channel... they're pretty accurate... :)

elliottaw 5 years, 1 month ago

take a tape measure outside and stick it in the snow, you will know instantly how much you have in your area

Lawrence_Pilot 5 years, 1 month ago

According to, EVERY highway in the state is snowpacked/icy. Check out some of the web cams on the turnpike...YIKES. But at least there are few cars trying to negotiate it.

dncinnanc 5 years, 1 month ago

We probably have a good 7" or so @ 17th & Louisiana right now.. Seems to be deeper on the east side of the house vs west side.

Christine Pennewell Davis 5 years, 1 month ago

kinda hard to tell with it coming in sideways half the car looks like 10 already the other half says none lol

Bobbi Walls 5 years, 1 month ago

Almost 8 inches in North Lawrence around N. 7th and Hickory

onehotmomma 5 years, 1 month ago

We have between 7.5 and 8 inches at 6th & Wakarusa!

Ray Finch 5 years, 1 month ago

Just went outside to search for paper copy of LJW, and according to some very imperfect measurements, estimate 13.5 inches in NW Lawrence (couldn't find the paper either).

Shaun Hittle 5 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the snow fall estimates.

The most official one I have is six inches in Lawrence, but that's a couple hours old.

Shaun LJW

Rae Smith Evans 5 years, 1 month ago

how is the clearing of the roads in Lawrence coming? I'm really hoping my husband will be able to navigate them to get home in awhile.

tessk 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm wondering if and when they'll allow the "weather essential" KU employees to go home. It's pretty nasty out there...

overthemoon 5 years, 1 month ago

7 am? It started just before 6 am. I was watching. No snow, then a lot. Within minutes.

Shaun Hittle 5 years, 1 month ago

We're working on an update on this. Here's he city map:

Shaun LJW

irvan moore 5 years, 1 month ago

i had to go get my wife at work about an hour ago, horrible roads, 10-12 inches of snow on a lot of streets, just about made it home and got stuck a 100 yards from home right in the middle of the road. walked home and got my snowblower and cleared a path and drove home, not going out again today. this reminds me of the kind of snow we had when i was a kid 50 or 60 years ago

peartree 5 years, 1 month ago

The juncos are abandoning searching the ground and are using the feeders. Anarchy!

costello 5 years, 1 month ago

Well, I was going to say that hell must have frozen over - I finally agree with the Governor about something. But 'play board games'? Really?

Andrew Dufour 5 years, 1 month ago

That's great advice to stay home unless your employer makes you go to work and then you get stuck at work.

Jeremiah Jefferson 5 years, 1 month ago

Yep, had to go to work this morning, drove all the way from Ottawa just so they could say its getting too rough out there, everyone go home an hour after we got there. Best part is my ride smoked a mile marker post on our way back and did about $2500 damage to his truck....

Bob Forer 5 years, 1 month ago

No doubt your boss is merely another inconsiderate greedy republican.

Jeremiah Jefferson 5 years, 1 month ago

Stay off the roads, but by crackie you better get out and shovel or face the consequences.

riverdrifter 5 years, 1 month ago

At 11am I taped down in 10 spots on my block here in Baldwin and it averaged just a bit over 10". My lab thinks that this is a total hoot. Anyway, round one of street plowing is complete and round two is under way.

Lisa Medsker 5 years, 1 month ago

My Min Pins didn't think it was too funny! The snow is deeper than they are tall! (One of them played "Noseplow" until she got cold paws, though.)

Joe Berns 5 years, 1 month ago

So, is it over, or is there more on the way. The maps i'm seeing show nothing down south that is coming up our way, but we were told 12 hours of snow and its been about 5.5 so far.

Just checking....

Bob Forer 5 years, 1 month ago

I have found to have the best on-line forecast. Their hourly forecasts are amazingly accurate. Looks like it stopped for a little while, but intermittent flurries will commence again early this pm, with more steady snow after five. Should be all over around midnight. Looks like we will get a few more inches, but the worst has already fallen.

Have never seen snow accumulate so quickly,.

DoUntoOthers 5 years, 1 month ago

City snow removal ordinance should help the hospital get lots of heart attack patients.

elliottaw 5 years, 1 month ago

Only if you get neighbors don't help older ones, my husband and I have helped 4 neighbors who are older dig out

Richard Payton 5 years, 1 month ago

p> shows Lawrence snow total at 11 inches and the metro at 10.3 inches of snow. KDOT's web page shows I-70 closed in the central portion of the state.

George_Braziller 5 years, 1 month ago

My block won't see a plow until sometime Friday afternoon. Our one little section of the street has always been one of the last to be cleared.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

At least 10" here-- took well over an hour to shovel at least 250' of walks and paths.

Curtis Martell 5 years, 1 month ago

We built a sledding hill on our front porch and driveway. It's awesome! We love snow! I hope we get more!

kufan8808 5 years, 1 month ago

I saw on that a car caught on fire trying to get up a hill on Lawrence Avenue! It looked bad! I was just wondering why there isn't anything about it on ljworld. Actually, a couple of Ljworlds pics are on as well! Looks like our city specifically made national news. They like your photos!

kernal 5 years, 1 month ago

Have been getting freezing drizzle in South Lawrence off and on for a couple of hours which has made some roads and shoveled walks even slicker.

Saw someone on his motorcycle have an "Oh, crap!" moment a while ago, so please be careful out there.

riverdrifter 5 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence just got a brief mention on the CBS Evening News. Showed a stuck firetruck.

Laura Wilson 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm sorry, they waited until noon to start plowing?! The snow had stopped by 11:00! And we had the requisite four inches (before they'll start plowing) by 9:00. Amazing.

Also, my garbage didn't get picked up. I saw a truck at 8:30 come up my street and turn onto another one right before my house so I figured they would swing back around, but apparently they didn't pick up any below or above my house. Broken lift arm? Going home because it was too cold? Got confused?

I'm actually hoping they don't plow my street before the weekend. Right now I can get my car out of my driveway to the street where there are tire tracks to drive in. If they plow, I'll have three feet of snow piled back up at the end of my driveway I'll have to deal with before I can get to work.

melott 5 years, 1 month ago

No mail delivery. No garbage pickup, in spite of putting it out early as they requested. The only street I've seen that was touched was 23rd Street. Snowplow guys in Hobby Lobby parking lot built a 4 foot barrier in front of the US mail boxes. So it goes.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 1 month ago

Anyone else sit in the front bay window watching for Eride?

texburgh 5 years, 1 month ago

Governor Brownback and his gang have been working overtime to destroy public sector unions. Do you think he understands that unionized state and municipal road crews are making it possible for him to get home safely?

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