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Records tumble, but snow might be over





After shattering overnight low temperatures Wednesday morning, perhaps Old Man Winter will loosen his grip.

In other words, can we warm up now?

Record cold temperatures blanketed Kansas as skies cleared Tuesday night and snow cover added to the bone-chilling conditions.

In Hays, the temperature fell to 22 degrees Wednesday morning, breaking the old record of 23 in 1967.

The temperature dropped below freezing at approximately 9 p.m. Tuesday, according to Joe Becker, and stayed there until 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

"That's a pretty hard freeze," said Becker, the weather observer for the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center at the south edge of Hays.

Dropping to 27 degrees Tuesday morning, the temperature in Hays matched the previous record set in 1963.

By comparison, just a year ago, the overnight low fell to only 49 degrees with a high of 97.

There were a string of other records set Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service office in Goodland.

Among them:

* Goodland dropped to 19 degrees, breaking the old record of 21 set in 1958.

* Hill City dropped to 22 degrees, breaking the old record of 26 set in 1968.

* Colby dropped to 21 degrees, breaking the old record of 25 degrees set in 1958.

* Cedar Bluff fell to 25 degrees, breaking the old record of 26 in 1967.

* Healy dropped to 18 degrees, breaking the old record of 27 degrees set in 1968.

* Russell fell to 20 degrees breaking the old record of 25 degrees set in 1967. Russell also set a new record low Tuesday, when the temperature fell to 26 degrees, breaking the old record of 29 set in 1967.

Goodland also set a new record for the lowest maximum. The daytime high only hit 32 degrees at 4:26 p.m. Tuesday, the coldest afternoon reading for April 23. The previous record was 38 degrees set in 1931.

Russell also had a new daytime low temperature of 34 degrees, breaking the old record of 46 in 1999.

As if that wasn't enough, Hays has recorded 36.5 inches of snow so far this winter season -- even though it is an extended season.

That's nearly twice the 119-year average of 19.17 inches.

It's no record, however, with 47 inches set in 1960.

Neither is the snowfall in Goodland, even though 55.7 inches of snow has fallen this season, according to Scott Mentzer, the meteorologist in charge of the weather bureau there.

"This made it up into the top 10 of snowfall seasons," he said.

But it's still a far cry from the top two: 102 inches in 1980 and 101.8 inches in 1984. The third snowiest falls to 78 inches in 1912.

"That would put us eighth right now," Mentzer said, adding "55.9 is seventh."

But he's thinking we just might be done with snow for the season.

"We do have a system coming in Friday morning," Mentzer said. "I think the temperature is going to be warm enough it's all going to be rain."

Still, he's cognizant May snowfalls do occur, including 5.9 inches May 7, 1938. The latest measurable snow was May 18, 1930.

"It's rare for us to get snow in mid-May, but not impossible," he said. "It's likely we're done. But I've been wrong before."

Moisture from the snowfall, however, has been beneficial.

"It's going to take several of these storms to make up for all the dry weather we've had over the last few years," he said. "But this is a good start."