Driving school

Arizona storm brings rain, wind, snow and dangerous driving conditions

A storm dropped about a foot of snow in parts of Arizona’s high country on Wednesday, hampering travel and closing schools in some areas.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning through 11 p.m. Wednesday for an area stretching from Flagstaff to Show Low and including the Mogollon Rim, Kaibab Plateau and the White Mountains.

high country

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has warned drivers to reconsider traveling north, but if you can’t reschedule your trip, bring a winter driving kit. According to ADOT, the items in the kit include “warm clothes and an emergency kit containing items such as a fully charged cell phone, blankets, food and water, medications you you need and even kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck in the snow.”

Arizona Department of Public Safety officials said there have been landslides on Interstate 40 involving tractor-trailers, but no serious injury collisions have been reported.

Maximum snowfall accumulations forecast through Thursday at higher elevations were up to 14 inches (35.5 centimeters). On Wednesday afternoon, Arizona Snowbowl says it received more than a foot of snow in the past 24 hours.

Flagstaff’s NWS says it estimates Sunset Park will see just over an inch of snow, Flagstaff will see about 8 to 12 inches, and Kachina Village will likely see the most with 12 to 18 inches.

Several inches of snow blanketed Grand Canyon National Park. Snow-covered roads and trails as early as 7 a.m. Wednesday, and park rangers say the roads are icy.

Sedona could get 2 to 4 inches, and firefighters say rescues can be quite difficult during a storm. They added snow chains to their fire trucks and ambulances in preparation.

“We get a lot of vehicles going off the road. Especially in Oak Creek Canyon, the first thing people want to do is get out of their vehicles, which causes, you know, problems in itself…” Jordan said Bake, battalion chief for the Sedona fire district.

He adds: “Try to recommend people to stay off the roads. Notifying you as soon as possible of the arrival of this storm. Avoid some of these unnecessary slides, but if you find yourself in this situation, we obviously ask you have a fully charged cell phone to contact someone for assistance, make sure you have warm blankets, water in case we can’t reach you and stay in your vehicle .”

Flagstaff (Credit: Calvin Johnson)

There will be hazardous winter road conditions over the next few days along I-17, I-40 and Interstates 87 and 191. ADOT says they have 200 snowplows across the state, 150 of them are in northern Arizona – about 65 to 70 are in Flagstaff alone.

“The safest option is to let the storm pass and give our plow operators a chance to clear the highways and clear the roads,” says Ryan Harding of ADOT. The storm is expected to last through Thursday, but the worst time to travel was Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning.

“Not only can conditions change very quickly, which can be dangerous when traveling, but it also results in fewer cars on the roads or vehicles, giving our snowplow drivers a chance to clear the roads more quickly and more efficiently when there are not many people. traffic piled up on the freeway,” Harding added.

Commercial delays:

“All non-essential services in the City of Flagstaff will operate with a two-hour delayed start tomorrow morning, February 24, due to inclement weather and poor road conditions,” the city said.

School cancellations, delays:

Northern Arizona University has closed its campus at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday and will have a delayed start on Thursday. The campus, including its offices, will open at 10 a.m. and all classes that start before that time are cancelled.

For Flagstaff Unified Schools, the district said, “All schools in the Flagstaff Unified School District are two hours late tomorrow morning, Thursday, February 24, due to current weather conditions. The delayed start means all schools will begin two hours after their normal start and release time according to the normal full day dismissal time.”

Morning buses will run two hours later than normal. “Parents and guardians in Kachina Village, Mountainaire and Munds Park should bring their children to the alternate winter bus stop,” the district added.

Alternative bus stops:

  • Kachina Village: Raymond County Park Bus Loop on Tovar Trail
  • Mountainaire: The Mountainaire Country Store located at 106 Mountainaire Road
  • Munds Park: the Munds Park outpost (post office) located at 50 Pinewood Boulevard

Blue Ridge school districts say all schools and offices will be closed Thursday.

Snow plow trying to clear I-10 near Ash Fork

Phoenix Region

In the Phoenix area, the National Weather Service (NWS) says that after a rainy Wednesday, a series of light showers will continue in the Phoenix metro area, but little to no rain should be expected.

Parts of North Scottsdale saw snowfall Wednesday morning. Troon North Golf Club was blanketed in fresh snow, putting a damper on golfers coming to Arizona to play in the sun and hot weather.

A little further north in Carefree, it has snowed enough to form a thin layer on the ground.

“These areas — most are over 2,000 feet by 2,500 feet, so every other winter they can get some snow, including today,” NWS Phoenix’s Marvin Percha said Wednesday. The snow showers didn’t last long.

The last time snow was seen in Scottsdale was in January 2021. In February 2019 parts of Scottsdale saw a few inches of snow that stuck to the ground.

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Road conditions

  • Call 511 anywhere in Arizona or 1-888-411-ROAD (7623)
  • az511.com

As the weather develops, we will continue to update this story. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Rainfall totals, so far

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