Flagstaff breaks one-day record as snow blankets high country
PHOENIX — The snow that blanketed northern Arizona throughout the day Thursday reached record-shattering levels.
By 5:30 p.m., the snow level at the Flagstaff airport hit 31.6 inches, breaking an all-time single-day record set in 1915, according to the National Weather Service.
The previous record was 31 inches, and snow was expected to fall into the next day. Since the storm started Wednesday night, Flagstaff had received more than 33 inches of snow.
The airport had 22.3 inches of snow — a record for the date — by 11:20 a.m.
The previous record for the day? A mere 10 inches, recorded in 1944.
The National Weather Service said snow was expected to fall at around 3 inches per hour into the early evening hours.
In what has been described as an atypical storm for the region, snow was expected to fall all day and well into Friday.
The city declared a state of emergency due to the storm, saying that all available resources were deployed to respond to the snowfall.
All non-essential city services and facilities will be closed Friday, the city said on Twitter.
Many school districts and state agencies in northern Arizona closed their doors in anticipation of the storm.
The weather also caused many crashes and closures on freeways as authorities encouraged drivers to delay travel.
Paul Moss and other drivers were chatting about the latest road conditions at a travel center west of Flagstaff, where semi-trailers were stuck waiting to fuel up. Moss said he could drive in the snow but prefers not to do so.
“Sometimes it’s just unsafe. You need to shut down,” said the Los Banos, California, resident, who was hauling a truckload of oranges. “I’ve got a family to go home to. My family is more important than freight.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.