Weather in Lawrence
- Winter storms usually start in Lawrence in December or early January. You should expect cold temperatures (–5°C to –15°C) and some snow and ice during this time. You will need a heavy coat, gloves, hats, and warm shoes or boots to stay warm and healthy during the winter. If you don’t have heavy clothing, try the second-hand clothing stores in Lawrence. You can often find good clothing for much less money at these stores. The AEC cross-cultural advisors have a list of low-priced stores that sell winter wear if you do not wish to buy these items brand new.
- It is sometimes dangerous to drive or walk on snow or ice. Shoes or boots made for walking in snow may prevent you from falling down on campus. Special snow tires or “chains” may keep your car from sliding. Your car should have thin (10W) or multi-grade (10W-30 or 10W-40) oil during the winter. Your battery should be in good working condition or your car won’t start. The Lawrence Battery Company (903 N. 2nd Street) will check your battery for you. Your car must also have anti-freeze in the water system or your engine will be damaged in cold weather.
- University and AEC classes are sometimes canceled when the weather conditions make travel in Lawrence hazardous. Local radio and TV stations announce class cancellations. You can also call 864‑SNOW or KU’s Information Center (864‑3506) for information on class cancellations.
- Winter in Lawrence can be beautiful and exciting for students who have not lived in cold climates. However, it is also a time when greater care is needed to avoid illness and injury.
- Summer weather in Lawrence is quite hot and humid. Daytime temperatures range from 80°F to 105°F (26°C–40°C), but it is usually cooler at night. The extreme humidity makes it seem warmer than it really is. You should be careful about spending too much time out in the sun because the heat of the sun can not only cause sunburns, but can also cause heat stroke. If you feel yourself becoming weak while out in the sun, you should seek a cool, shady place to rest. Avoid going into air-conditioned buildings after being outside for a long time. The rapid change in temperature can make you feel ill.
- Most students dress very casually in the summer months. Women wear dresses or skirts and blouses, and sometimes shorts and T-shirts. Men wear light pants and shirts and also wear shorts in the hot weather. You should wear loose fitting clothing that is comfortable. Do not be surprised to see university faculty wearing shorts and sandals to classes. They like to be comfortable in the heat, too!
- The early and late summer is also a time when tornadoes occur in the Midwest. A tornado is a violent whirling wind with a rapidly rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that usually destroys everything along its narrow path. It can cause death if persons are not careful. Lawrence has a warning system of very loud sirens that sound when danger is immediate (they sound like an air-raid siren; you will hear a siren test each week on Monday at 12:00 noon). You should become familiar with what you should do if a severe storm or tornado happens.
- A severe thunderstorm or tornado “watch” means that there is a possibility that weather conditions could produce a severe storm or a tornado. You should listen to one of the local radio stations or watch the television for any developments. Do not go outside. Do not sit close to any windows because of possible wind damage.
- A severe thunderstorm “warning” means that winds are greater than 58 miles per hour (that is a very strong wind) and hail is bigger than three-quarters of an inch. Also, lightning usually accompanies thunderstorms and kills more people than tornadoes.
- A tornado “warning” means that a tornado has been seen in or is moving toward the Lawrence area. If this happens, the city’s sirens will sound, telling you to take cover NOW! You should go to a protected area—a basement, the lowest level of a building, or to an interior room—away from doors and windows. You should protect your head. Do not use elevators. If you are in a car, pull over and leave it. If you are outside during a tornado and can’t get to a building quickly, go lie down on your stomach in a low area away from trees and electric power lines.
- Not all thunderstorms are dangerous. Many are just dramatic displays of electricity, percussive sounds and sometimes heavy rain. Enjoy the regular ones and take cover from the severe ones.
- A former AEC student once said, “If you don’t like the weather in Kansas, just wait a minute.” What he meant was that the weather is unpredictable—that it is always changing. If you have been in the Midwest before, you might have already noticed this. If you have just arrived in Kansas, then you should prepare yourself for both warm and cold weather.
- At the beginning of the fall semester, temperatures are usually still very warm, but in October and November the weather will become quite cool. If you do not own a light jacket, you may wish to buy one soon. One of the most beautiful times of the year at KU is the autumn (or fall). The leaves on the trees change colors to bright orange, yellow, and red. Unfortunately, the beauty of autumn does not last very long. Winter and cold weather come very quickly.
- Winter begins around December 21, but it is usually very cold by late November. Sometimes there is even snow by Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November). Heavy clothing is necessary for this time of the year. A heavy winter coat, boots, gloves, and a hat are a necessity for the winter months. You can often find good clothing for much less money at used or second-hand stores. The AEC cross-cultural advisors have a list of low-priced stores that sell winter wear if you do not wish to buy these items brand new.
- It is also important to remember that winter brings snow and ice and that you must take extra care in getting around. It is sometimes dangerous to drive or walk on snow or ice. Shoes or boots made for walking in snow may prevent you from falling down on campus. Special snow tires or “chains” may keep your car from sliding.