Winter storms and highways close in northern Arizona; Rain, hail is reported throughout the valley

Two winter storms in northern Arizona are expected to cause a combined 19 to 29 inches of snow fall in the Flagstaff area over the next five days.

The storm from Friday to Sunday is expected to bring light snowfall across the region, while the second storm is expected to give more snow from Monday to Tuesday evening.

The National Weather Service said the Flagstaff area is expected to see seven to 11 inches of snow in the first storm and 12 to 18 inches during the second storm. The second storm is estimated to receive 15 to 21 inches of snow.

As of 11 am on January 24, Flagstaff saw 7 to 9 inches of snow. Prescott has seen 3 to 5 inches of snowfall.

Traffic storms

Driving conditions in the high country can be difficult due to the storm. Temperatures in northern Arizona are also expected to be extremely cold on Wednesday and Thursday, raising concerns over the possibility of frozen pipes in some areas of the high country.

Drivers are advised not to delay the journey north, unless absolutely necessary, and officials say that the safest option is to wait for the storm, as it will allow Snowplay to clear the highway faster. Can.

The influx of passengers heading north has resulted in a number of backups and delays along I-17 and I-40. During the late afternoon of January 24, ADOT officials say there is a traffic backup along I-17 near State Route 179, from milepost 340 to milepost 305 in Flagstaff. In addition, there is a heavy traffic backup from Cordon Junction to New River.

ADOT officials say the winter season is responsible for heavy traffic. They are asking people to wait for the storm if possible.

On the night of 24 January, ADOT officials announced that State Route 89A was closed in both directions between Sedona and Flagstaff as a result of a winter storm. There is no estimated time to reopen.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Flagstaff is advising travelers to avoid parking along the freeway to play in the snow.

Snowfall at Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona. (Photo: Charles Fishback)

Classes were canceled on Monday in Flagstaff

In a statement released during the late afternoon of January 24, Flagstaff Unified School District officials say all schools in the district will be closed at J. 25, including distance learning classes.

Part of the statement read, “A determination for school and district services will be made on Monday, or Tuesday morning, on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.”

Rain, hail was seen across the valley

The valley saw scattered rain Sunday morning, although some residents – particularly those in the southeast – saw more severe storm cells.

The National Weather Service reported that Ola and Grappel, or Soft Ola, reported with US 60 near Superior.

The metro Phoenix area is likely to receive more rain on Monday and Tuesday, as well as more widespread thunderstorms with strong winds.

Winter Storm Watch has influence in high altitude areas of Phoenix on Monday and Tuesday.

Winter sports lovers delight in the running of icy winds

The imminent snowfall also means good news for the Arizona snowbell.

“We’re looking at up to three feet by next Thursday, so this is huge news for us,” said Arizona snowball marketing manager Lee Cui.

So far, the ski area has gained only 35 inches, but their weather total is expected to double in a few days from possible snowfall.

This big storm is also bringing many skiers and snowboarders to Flagstaff.

“Our Saturday tickets sold out on Tuesday nights, and Sunday tickets sold out until Thursday,” Lee said.

Rain / flood safety measures

American Red Cross Tips for Heavy Rain Conditions and Flood Protection:

  • Turn around, don’t drown! If you have to drive and you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and go the other way.
  • If you are stuck on a flooded road and the water around you is rising fast, get out of the car and go to higher ground.
  • Tune in to your local radio, NOAA radio, or news channels for the latest updates.
  • If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly.
  • Follow evacuation orders and do not attempt to return until officers are safe.
  • If the power lines are down, do not step into the puddle or standing water.
  • If the power is out, use a flashlight. Do not use any open flame as an alternative light.

Storm preparation

American Red Cross tips for preparing for an intense thunderstorm:

  • Put an emergency kit together.
  • Know your community’s evacuation plan.
  • Make a domestic disaster plan and practice it.
  • Buy battery powered or hand-crank radios
  • Discuss Vajra safety with your household members. Be aware that strong thunderstorms can cause flooding.
  • Choose a safe place in your house for house members to gather during thunderstorms. It should be a place where there are no windows, skylight or glass doors, which can be broken by strong winds or hail and cause damage or injury.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.