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Archive for Monday, February 25, 2013

Heavy snowfall set to begin later tonight; forecasts call for 10 inches by noon Tuesday

February 25, 2013, 10:07 a.m. Updated February 25, 2013, 4:18 p.m.

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8:22 p.m. update

Light snow is falling off and on in Lawrence, with a band of heavier snow moving up from the south. Roads remain clear. The National Weather Service said it's sticking with its earlier forecast and still predicting eight to 10 inches of snow for the Lawrence area with the heaviest snow coming after midnight and early Tuesday morning.

A National Weather Service snow forecast map, as of Monday morning.

A National Weather Service snow forecast map, as of Monday morning.

4:18 p.m. update

Snow has begun to fall in Lawrence, and if forecasts hold it will only get heavier —and more blustery — from here.

As of about 3:30 p.m. Monday, forecasts still call for about 10 inches of snow in the Lawrence area during the second massive winter storm to come through the area in a week’s time. That’s the amount predicted to fall between now and about noon Tuesday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Gargan.

Snow, which already began to fall in Lawrence during mid-afternoon, should continue off and on until about 8 or 9 p.m., Gargan said, at which point it will increase steadily. Between midnight and 9 a.m. Tuesday, it could fall at rates of about a half-inch to one inch per hour.

Also during that time, the snow will combine with winds of 20 to 25 miles per hour, with gusts beyond 30. That will cause visibility of a quarter-mile or less, with temporary whiteout conditions possible at times.

“The morning commute doesn’t look too good right now,” Gargan said, “with heavy snow and the blowing and drifting snow.”

Snowfall should taper off during the late morning, he said, and end in the early afternoon, he said. Another round of snow could tack another inch onto the total Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

On a statewide conference call Monday, Gov. Sam Brownback urged residents to simply stay home Tuesday if they can help it, echoing his advice during last week’s storm.

“That advice from last week might seem old, tired,” Brownback said, “but if you don’t have to travel, don’t.”

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach urged anyone planning to vote in Tuesday’s local primary elections around the state to do so today. Kobach directed counties, including Douglas County, to extend their advance voting hours today until 7 p.m. Advance voting for the Lawrence City Commission primary is taking place at the Douglas County Courthouse, 11th and Massachusetts streets.

“The best thing people can do is go ahead and vote on the way home from work today,” Kobach said.

State officials said that anyone who would be heading out on the road during the storm should check 511.ks.org for road condition updates from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

“These are some of the biggest snow events since we’ve been keeping records in the state of Kansas,” Brownback said of this week’s storm and last’s.

Several area school districts, including Eudora, Tonganoxie and Ottawa, had already canceled classes for Tuesday by late Monday afternoon.

The city of Lawrence’s sidewalk snow ordinance, which allows for property owners to be fined if sidewalks aren’t cleared of snow within 48 hours after a snowfall, will not be enforced until after this week’s snowstorm, said city spokeswoman Megan Gilliland on Monday.

City crews have been pre-treating streets during the day Monday, Gilliland said, continuing their 24-hour work since Wednesday of last week.

Morning update

Things may be calm during the day today, but don’t be fooled: Another major winter storm is still in store for the Lawrence area over the next two days.

But this system, though it could again dump 8 or more inches of snow on Lawrence, will be a slightly different beast from the one that tore through the Midwest last week, with stronger winds and more uncertainty.

As of this morning, forecasters are predicting for things to remain calm until the early evening hours Monday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Audra Hennecke.

“Today is actually going to be a rather quiet day,” Hennecke said, at least during daylight hours.

Though forecasters earlier were predicting some freezing rain and snow during the day today, Hennecke said it now looks like any precipitation will hold off until the early evening. Some light showers or flurries could pop up before then, though.

But from this evening through Tuesday morning, things are projected to get serious. Steady snow will likely be joined by something that wasn’t present during last week’s snowstorm: strong winds, perhaps 10 to 20 miles per hour, with gusts up to 35.

“That makes for extremely treacherous driving conditions,” Hennecke said, especially late this evening and overnight.

And this system is moving slowly, which means blowing snow could remain hazardous for a period of several hours.

As for snowfall totals, the forecast calls for about 8 to 10 inches for the Lawrence area from tonight through Tuesday morning.

But that comes with a caveat: This storm, which is currently dropping snow over southern Kansas and rain on northern Oklahoma, is a bit tougher to pin down than last week’s. The area projected to receive the biggest snowfall is fairly narrow, so totals within even a single county could vary widely.

“The Lawrence area looks to be right on the cusp,” Hennecke said.

Snow is expected to taper off after Tuesday morning, with perhaps some light snowfall persisting into Wednesday morning: less than an inch total.

Comments

d_prowess 1 year, 10 months ago

So if the above forecast holds true, we probably won't know about KU and School cancellations until tomorrow morning. I hate the uncertainty of it all!!

Mike Hoffmann 1 year, 10 months ago

I'd be amazed if there is any school tomorrow. A bunch of snow falling overnight does not bode well for buses, kids walking to school, etc. Throw in the winds and...well, there's no way there is school tomorrow.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 10 months ago

The Lawrence School District has always been laggard in announcing school closings due to weather. They worry and fret and whine that they may have to have a day or two estra in the spring. Never mind the school employees, bus employees, parents who need to make child care arrangements, we must avoid at all costs having to attend a few wxtra days in the spring. It has been this way for many years.

elliottaw 1 year, 10 months ago

Why jump to a quick decision, it doesn't hurt them to wait. If you have to send your kids somewhere you can still make those plans, nothing is stopping you from planning ahead.

sinkorswim 1 year, 10 months ago

It doesn't really have anything to do with going extra days in the spring. That's the purpose of scheduling an inclement weather day. When we miss beyond that, they typically add additional minutes to the day for the rest of the year. The problem the powers-that-be have always faced is the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" backlash from parents. For every parent lobbying for an early decision there is a parent unhappy with the early cancellation. While I understand all too well the inconvenience of having kids out of school, I also knew/expected the existence of my kids would often create incovenience and less than ideal circumstances for me! No one to blame. Just have to go with the flow, make preparations "just in case," etc. Pretty sure the district can't control Mother Nature. I appreciate the district taking into consideration the safety and well-being of all involved.

Mark Currie 1 year, 10 months ago

Yeoman2, I agree with you 100%. I used to teach zero hour and a lot of times I would already be at school when they cancelled it. Then I had to drive home through it. I guess that is what I got for teaching zero hour.

Hooligan_016 1 year, 10 months ago

Looking forward to using another vacation day.

kernal 1 year, 10 months ago

Wondering if city sanitation will pick up trash tomorrow. I know it sounds petty in light of everything else, but thinking the trucks may have problems getting through on some side streets tomorrow and Wednesday morning. Too bad we couldn't forecast the storm delay today so they could have done some of tomorrow's pick ups this afternoon after the regular Monday route.

Sometimes it's hard to plan ahead when you're at the mercy of Mother Nature.

jafs 1 year, 10 months ago

According to the gal at the city I talked with (in the solid waste department) they will be picking up trash, but on a somewhat delayed schedule tomorrow.

Christine Pennewell Davis 1 year, 10 months ago

I put mine out already on the off chance and even if they don't pick up they are there ready for when they do.

Boston_Corbett 1 year, 10 months ago

Have you voted in the City primary election?? Most posters on this board do an ample share of complaining. I hear that the Co. Clerk may open advance voting for this afternoon, when it typically does not occur.

kernal 1 year, 10 months ago

Voting already open for this after noon and yes I voted. What about you?

Richard Payton 1 year, 10 months ago

p>Cjonline.com headline predicts storm less intense than last week. Weather.com expects more snow from Rocky than Storm Q. National media verse's local media could both be correct?

frankfussman 1 year, 10 months ago

Monday, 12 noon, no snow shovels are available at most stores in Lawrence. Only Ernst and Sons downtown has snow shovels. They are all out at Walmart, Cottin's (though more coming in this afternoon), Whelan's, Ace Hardware.

Matthew Herbert 1 year, 10 months ago

Ernst and Sons has snow shovels, but they can't remember where they put them and you had better not bother them to ask either!

Kristin Vickers 1 year, 10 months ago

I was at Ace Hardware (6th and Kasold) last night and they still had snow shovels.

melott 1 year, 10 months ago

Spring clearance on snow blowers at Amazon.com

rockchalker52 1 year, 10 months ago

The 'calm' is falling at a pretty good clip at my house this afternoon.

absolutelyridiculous 1 year, 10 months ago

Just heard a National Weather Service rep on KMBZ. The NWS is being conservative but reality is they are thinking 13-15 inches for us.

Could the city do what KC is doing? Get cars OFF the street so the snow plows can just move through the streets more efficiently. If your car HAS to be on the street, park on the West side for North and South streets and on the South side for East and West streets.

Cities in the east do this and they open up the streets much faster.

Good luck everyone.

otto 1 year, 10 months ago

If I was paid with tax revenue like the Gov. I would stay home.

Jack McEnaney 1 year, 10 months ago

Anyone know which of these two options the city prefers? Should I park in my driveway and block the sidewalk or park on the street and block the plows? Which is less of an inconvenience? I'm leaning toward parking in the driveway and partially blocking the sidewalk so roads are freed up and there will likely be fewer jiggers etc? Anyone have any experience with this? I don't want a ticket

Jack McEnaney 1 year, 10 months ago

Which does the city prefer? Park on the street with roads covered in snow blocking clean path for plow trucks or is it better to park in the driveway and block the sidewalk

bearded_gnome 1 year, 10 months ago

cars block the sidewalks all the time, no problem.

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