Lawrence and Douglas County got a taste of what is in store for the rest of the weekend when a light drizzle Friday night left a thin coat of ice that made hazardous walking and driving on untreated streets and roads.
Emily Heller, meteorologist for the National Weather Service Office in Topeka, said last night’s freezing drizzle was widespread in northeast Kansas. Douglas County residents could expect more periods of light drizzle throughout the morning, afternoon and early evening today as temperatures will remain in the high 20s. Conditions will get worse in the late evening when a heavier rain is expected to start falling, she said.
“You can expect just under a half inch of ice in the Lawrence area,” Heller said of the overnight accumulation. “We may see a little tree damage and isolated power outages, but we won’t have much wind, which plays a big role. It will be more just hazardous travel.”
There is a chance of more freezing rain Sunday afternoon, but that will depend on the temperature, Heller said.
“The temperature will be right on the cusp of rain and freezing rain,” she said. “There’s a chance we’ll get a break and just have a really cold rain.”
More rain will fall Sunday night and Monday morning, but Heller is confident temperatures will be well above freezing during those periods. Monday’s high will be in the low 50s and temperatures should remain above normal the rest of the week.
Freezing rain occurs when warmer temperatures in the atmosphere above the surface melt snow, which then falls as rain and freezes at the surface, Heller said.
As of Saturday morning, the community appears to have handled the hazardous freezing drizzle. The Kansas Highway Patrol’s crash logs list no accidents in Douglas county Friday or today and the county's 911 dispatch center reports no vehicle accidents and no abnormal number of emergency calls in response to falls.