Major Winter Storm Moves into Arizona; Snowy Conditions and Rain Expected
A significant winter storm started to move into Arizona on Wednesday night. It brought snowy conditions to parts of the state’s high country.
The snowy conditions are expected to prevail through Thursday and Friday.
The winter storm will bring from 1 to 2 inches of rain to the Phoenix area, according to the National Weather Service. Rain in the valley is expected to start in the early-morning hours Thursday and continue into Friday.
As per the Arizona Department of Transportation, on Wednesday night snowy conditions were being reported along parts of State Route 260 east of PInetop-Lakeside and State Route 273 north of Greer. Snow was also moving through Interstate 40 between Ash Fork and Bellemont.
A live downtown Flagstaff web camera recording showed snow falling and snow-covered streets around the area just after 8 p.m. Wednesday.
As the Winter Storm continues, the heaviest snow was expected in areas along the Mogollon Rim, including Payson, which could see more than 2 feet.
With the hefty winter storm, travelers planning to fly in or out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport should monitor their flights for any potential delays. Travelers are advised to give themselves extra time and check for updates from airlines.
“Here at Phoenix Sky Harbor, we always encourage travelers to check their flight status with their airline before coming to the airport,” said airport spokeswoman Heather Lissner.
The warning for the winter storm for the Flagstaff area goes into effect from 11 p.m. Wednesday through 5 p.m. Friday, according to the Weather Service. As per the forecast, the area is expected to receive up to 2 feet of snow, with locally higher amounts along the eastern Mogollon Rim.
Areas to be impacted include Flagstaff, Forest Lakes, Heber-Overgaard, Payson, Pine-Strawberry, Sedona and Williams.
As per authorities, travel on the highways will be difficult. The Arizona Department of Transportation advised motorists to put off travel to the northern areas until the storm passes.
Those who cannot avoid traveling are advised to keep an extra flashlight, blankets, food and water, a first-aid kit and a cellphone in their vehicles in case of an emergency.
Daytime temperatures in the Flagstaff area will be in the upper 20s on Thursday and Friday, dropping into the teens and single digits at night. High temperatures will rise to the low to mid-30s Saturday and Sunday.
Central and Southern Arizona-
As per the Weather Service, in central and southern Arizona, rain and snow are expected between midnight and sunrise Thursday.
It is expected to see a mix of rain and snow in areas as low as 2,500 feet late Wednesday and Thursday morning with accumulating snow at around 3,000 feet. Higher terrain areas north and east of Phoenix also will be impacted, according to a Weather Service forecast.
For communities at elevations above 3,000 feet across northeast Maricopa and southern Gila counties, winter storm warnings have been issued.
During the day Thursday, snow levels will rise to between 4,000 and 4,500 feet. Steady light to moderate rain will soak south-central Arizona deserts nearly all day Thursday, slowly tapering off Friday morning.
Rainfall amounts for Phoenix could be the highest at 1 inch in many locations with the highest amounts likely falling just north and east of the city. The wet weather should come to an end by Friday, the Weather Service said.
As per the Weather Services, daytime temperatures are expected to be in the 50s Thursday through Saturday for the Phoenix metro area, dropping into the 40s and even mid-30s at night.
Travelers are requested to check weather reports and traffic conditions by visiting az511.gov, calling 511 or reviewing ADOT’s Twitter feed, @ArizonaDOT.