Blowing snow, brutal temperatures hit Lawrence area; weekend will be frigid, as well

photo by: Mike Yoder

Shoveling beneath the sculpture of KU football great Gale Sayers, workers clear the entrance sidewalks at the Anderson Family Football Complex Thursday morning, Dec. 22, 2022.

Updated at 5:37 p.m. Dec. 22, 2022

Douglas County saw temperatures as low as minus 4 degrees and as much as 2 inches of rain and snow from Thursday’s winter storm, and subzero wind chills are expected to continue through Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Adam Jones, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka, said temperatures could be as high as 8 degrees by midday Friday, but that wind chills could still be as low as negative 20 degrees at that time. Saturday and Sunday should be slightly warmer, he said, with highs around 20 degrees, and temperatures should climb into the 30s by Monday.

Jones said no more precipitation is expected over the holiday weekend.

Thursday’s winter weather did cause some accidents in Lawrence and Douglas County, including a few injury crashes.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman George Diepenbrock said the sheriff’s office had responded to 20 weather-related noninjury crashes or motorist assist calls and two injury accidents.

“In both injury crashes, thankfully, no one had to be transported from the scene,” Diepenbrock said.

Diepenbrock said a couple of accidents on the county’s roads involved semitrailers. In the early morning hours, he said, a semitrailer got stranded on the Farmer’s Turnpike when the driver tried to turn around and got stuck in a ditch. It took several hours to clear the semitrailer from the roadway, which reopened just before 6 a.m. Later Thursday morning, Diepenbrock said, a semitrailer jackknifed in the westbound lanes of Kansas Highway 10 a few miles west of the 23rd Street exit. No injuries were reported, but westbound traffic had to be diverted onto 23rd Street. The K-10 lanes reopened shortly before 11 a.m.

photo by: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

The westbound lanes of K-10 near milepost 13 southeast of Lawrence were shut down Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, after a semitrailer jack-knifed.

Sgt. Drew Fennelly of the Lawrence Police Department said that as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, police had responded to six weather-related noninjury accidents and one accident with minor injuries. The overall amount of traffic on city roadways was lower than average, Fennelly said.

“It appears people are heeding recommendations to stay out of the cold,” he said.

Law enforcement officials warned of slippery road conditions and reduced visibility from blowing snow, and the National Weather Service warned that the cold temperatures could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.

“If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” the Weather Service cautioned.

The latest road conditions for Kansas can be accessed by calling 511.

photo by: Mike Yoder

A City of Lawrence snow plow clears lanes at the intersection on Ninth and Massachusetts streets Thursday morning, Dec. 22, 2022.

photo by: Mike Yoder

pedestrian crosses New Hampshire Street in downtown Lawrence Thursday morning, Dec. 22, 2022, during blowing snow and high winds.

photo by: Mike Yoder

Traffic travels in the westbound lane of I-70 and through Lawrence in winter conditions of snow and strong winds Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

A truck slides on the roadway near Sixth Street and Bluffs Drive as it heads toward the I-70 on-ramp Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

A snow plow clears the intersection at Sixth and Iowa streets Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.

photo by: Kim Callahan/Journal-World

A flock of geese swim in the Kansas River near the Bowersock hydroelectric plant on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.

photo by: Kim Callahan/Journal-World

A view of the partially frozen Kansas River from North Lawrence looking toward downtown on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

The Community Building in downtown Lawrence, which is the site of the Winter Emergency Shelter, is pictured Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

The Douglas County Courthouse is pictured Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Lawrence City Hall at Sixth and Massachusetts streets is pictured Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.

Numerous organizations have shut down for the day, including the following:

• Cottonwood Inc.’s day services and offices will close Thursday and Friday. The nonprofit is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday.

• Lawrence Meals on Wheels will not be delivering Thursday or Friday.

• Offices at the Lawrence, Edwards and Leavenworth campuses of the University of Kansas will be closed on Thursday.

• Lawrence Transit will cancel its bus service on Thursday and plans to have a noon start on Friday. In addition, the transit Night Line service will end at midnight today.

• Gov. Laura Kelly has declared all state office buildings in Shawnee County will be closed on Thursday and Friday. This declaration applies to all nonessential state employees in executive branch agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction who work in offices located in Shawnee County. Essential employees are required to report to work as normal. This declaration does not include employees in the Board of Regents, Regents Institutions, the judicial branch, nor the legislative branch of government. Their designated representative will make a separate declaration for those employees if appropriate.

• The Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka will be closed Thursday and Friday.

• The Lawrence Public Library will be closed Thursday. It plans to be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday.

• The City of Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department has closed all recreation centers and facilities for the remainder of Thursday. All programs and facilities will operate as scheduled Friday with their holiday hours, except for the Indoor Aquatic Center, 4706 Overland Drive, which will be open 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. for lap swimming only.

• The Senior Resource Center will be closed on Thursday, including its Senior Wheels, Holiday Season Grief Support Group, and Toastmaster programs.


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