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Blistery winter weather impacts travel across Arizona

(ADOT photo)

PHOENIX — Blistery winter weather plagued much of Arizona on Friday, forcing the closure of a southeastern highway and impacting travel in northern and eastern parts of the state.

State Route 80 was closed from Bisbee to State Route 90 around 5:30 a.m. due to icy conditions. Drivers were encouraged to use state routes 90 and 92 as alternate routes.

The highway was reopened by 6:45 a.m.

Drivers were also told to expect slow travel on Interstate 17 from the Sedona turnoff to Flagstaff and Interstate 40 from Ash Fork to about 30 miles east of Flagstaff.

Jonathan Suk with the National Weather Service in Flagstaff told KTAR News 92.3 FM Friday that much of northern Arizona will be dealing with slick, icy conditions while eastern Arizona could get anywhere from 4 to 6 inches of snow.

The Grand Canyon was under a winter weather advisory until 5 p.m. Friday. Visitors were told that roadways may be temporarily closed while snow is cleared.

A freeze watch was issued for Saturday morning for parts of the state, including northwest Pinal County, La Paz County, Superior, Parker and the Gila River Valley.

ABC15 meteorologist Iris Hermosillo told Arizona’s Morning News that temperatures in the Valley were also going to be some of the coldest of the season starting Friday night until Sunday morning.

Hermosillo said Phoenix was expected to see temperatures around 34 degrees Saturday morning, while the rest of the Valley could bottom out around 30 degrees. Cities like Maricopa and Queen Creek could even reach the 20s, she added.

“Hopefully you own a heavier coat because you’ll need it this weekend,” Hermosillo said.

But the cold weather isn’t expected to stick around: Temperatures are expected to rise into next week.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report. 

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