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One year ago: Valley, state surprised by big winter storm

PHOENIX — It’s amazing the difference a year can make. Last February, Arizonans were bundling up as a big winter storm blew through the state. This year, the state has seen record high temperatures.

One year ago Thursday, the entire state of Arizona was taken by surprise when a winter storm dropped snow in the high country and graupel, a soft hail, in the Valley.

“The snow levels went down to 2,000 feet,” said Charlotte Dewey with the National Weather Service. “The Superstition Mountains were covered with snow. We had small hail and graupel in some Valley locations.”

During the storm, Flagstaff public schools and Northern Arizona University were closed because of snow. In metro Phoenix, graupel covered cars and bounced off the sidewalk catching drivers by surprise.

A National Weather Service forecast predicted up to 6 inches of snow in Flagstaff and Prescott and up to 9 inches of snow in Payson on Wednesday.

Fast forward to 2014 and the only thing dropping on Phoenix sidewalks is likely to be beads of sweat.

The city set a new record high for Feb. 15 with 86 on Saturday, before tying the all-time record high for Feb. 16 on Sunday with 84.

Temperatures are expected to drop into the high 70s for Thursday and Friday before jumping back up into the 80s.

KTAR’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.