This year Easter Sunday came on April Fool's Day, and Mother Nature was not fooling around.
An unseasonable cold front brought temperatures in the 20s and freezing rain and drizzle into the area Sunday morning through early Sunday afternoon. The result of these pockets of freezing rain was multiple crashes and rollovers in an area of north-central and northeast Kansas from Salina to Topeka.
Slick highway conditions caused multi-vehicle crashes that resulted in stopped traffic about 1:45 p.m. just west of Abilene near the Russell Stover plant, said Trooper Ben Gardner of the Kansas Highway Patrol. Traffic continued to move slowly through the area before the highway was completely cleared just after 4:30 p.m.
"It was a very active area with rollovers, slide-offs and injury crashes," he said. "We and other agencies have been kept busy working these crashes all morning."
Slick spots and vehicle slide-offs also were reported on Kansas Highway 18 and U.S. Highway 81 just north of Salina, Gardner said.
Icy conditions were responsible for a crash involving a Topeka family at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday on US 81 at the junction with Kansas Highway 106.
According to a report from the Kansas Highway Patrol, a Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by Mark A. Ludvicek, 43, of Topeka, was southbound on US 81 when it crossed an icy bridge and Ludvicek lost control. The truck rolled and came to a stop in the west ditch.
Ludvicek was injured and two passengers in the truck, Greyson Ludvicek, 7, and Talon Ludvicek, 10, had possible injuries, the report said. Another passenger, Erin M. Ludvicek, 37, was uninjured. Mark Ludvicek was taken to Salina Regional Health Center but was not listed as a patient early Sunday evening.
All were wearing seat belts, the report said.
Whenever there are slick conditions caused by freezing rain or snow, Gardner warned that it is vital for drivers to slow down and leave plenty of room for the driver ahead of you "who may be doing something they shouldn't be doing."
"I think people have gotten into the mindset that it's spring, but winter certainly showed up today," he said.
Meteorologists predicted several days ago that a cold front was coming to the area on Easter, but light snow was anticipated rather than freezing rain, said Robb Lawson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita.
"I don't know what it is with Easter, but every couple of years we get weather like this," he said.
Snow blankets Nebraska
Snowfall affected Nebraska more than Kansas, Lawson said, with some parts of that state reporting up to 11 inches of accumulation. Snow also was reported in Topeka and areas of northeast Kansas, but north-central Kansas mostly recorded freezing rain and drizzle.
By late afternoon Sunday, most of the freezing rain had passed, although temperatures remained in the upper 20s and lower 30s. Monday promised to be a different story, with temperatures rising to a high of 50 degrees in the Salina area.
As for the rest of the week, Tuesday poses the most concern, Lawson said, as winds will shift to the northwest with possible gusts up to 40 to 45 mph. An extreme grassland fire danger will be in affect for most areas of the state on Tuesday with Red Flag Warnings likely to be issued.
Another chance for wintry conditions to return to the area will be late Thursday, which may produce a mixture of light rain and snow along the I-70 corridor.
In other words, welcome to Kansas in April, Lawson said.
"It's all about extremes this time of year," he said.