A winter storm watch was issued for high-altitude regions in Arizona as the state braces for the first of two winter storms that begin Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service.
Northern Arizona through the White Mountains and regions above 5,000 feet in elevation were among those affected by the storm warning. A high wind warning will go into effect in the White Mountains at 11 pm on Saturday and will last until 8 am on Sunday.
About 8 to 12 inches of snowfall are expected in areas across the country between Saturday night and Sunday. Snow levels will reach 6,000 to 6,500 feet Saturday night before dropping to 5,000 to 6,000 feet on Sunday.
Flagstaff can expect between 2 and 3 feet of snow to accumulate by Tuesday night, according to National Weather Service estimates.
A winter storm watch was in effect in Flagstaff on Saturday, and winter weather warnings were issued in the Coconino Plateau, Yavapai County Mountains, northern Gila County, White Mountains and Chuska Mountains.
Hazardous travel conditions were expected to begin Saturday night and last through Tuesday in the northern and eastern parts of the state, with possible whiteout conditions expected through noon on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. in Flagstaff.
“The impacts we’re really focusing on for the coming winter weather are dangerous Saturday-to-Tuesday trips, with particularly difficult driving late Saturday to early Sunday,” said Paige Swenson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Flagstaff.
Snow management will be difficult as the snow steadily increases as a result of too few breaks between periods of snowfall, according to Swenson.
“It’s going to be tough to keep everything plowed up,” Swenson said.
Swenson also warned that occasional power outages could result from winter storms in the northern and eastern parts of the state.
Broken tree branches and the potential for rockslides in highly prone areas around Oak Creek Canyon, Highway 89 and south of Black Canyon City were also concerns, according to Swenson.
The National Weather Service in Flagstaff has asked travelers to stay indoors this weekend.
“Be prepared for additional heavy snow, gusty winds, freezing temperatures and difficult or impossible travel times,” the weather service said in a tweet late Saturday.
A combination of high winds and snowfall could lead to snowfall and falling tree limbs, causing even more hazardous conditions for travel through the weekend and into early next week, Swenson said.
The National Weather Service has recommended that residents “put away” their vehicles for the winter, pack an emergency supply kit, and avoid all non-essential travel during the high-impact winter storm periods, which will run from Saturday through Tuesday. fair.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety recommends keeping the following items in a winter emergency supply kit:
- cell phone and charger
- Winter clothes/blankets
- prescribed medication
- First aid kit
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- ice scraper
- A small bag of sand or kitty litter for wheel traction
- Compact snow shovel
- Travel tool kit and battery cables
- safety flags
- non-perishable snacks
Conditions are expected to improve from Wednesday and Thursday of next week, but persistent rain could last until the end of the week, according to the weather service.
Rain and lower temperatures on deck in Phoenix, southern Arizona
Southern Arizona and Phoenix can expect rain and below-average temperatures throughout the weekend, which persist through Wednesday.
Residents in the lower desert regions can expect to see flowing water in normally dry washes and possible flooding of low-lying roads, according to Swenson.
“That can definitely still lead to rough riding conditions, especially if you’re on dirt roads or unpaved roads in general,” Swenson said.
Residents can refer to the Arizona Department of Transportation safety tips for best practices when driving in the rain.
The second winter storm, scheduled for Monday, will bring cooler temperatures to Phoenix and Tucson over the weekend, continuing through Wednesday, according to the Phoenix National Weather Service.
“Most lower desert locations will see highs in the 50s on Tuesday,” the weather service said.
Dry conditions are expected to return to the lower desert regions from Thursday, but temperatures will remain low, according to the weather service. Low temperatures were expected to be cooler than last week, with lows in the low 30s.
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