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Rain and wind to blast Valley on Thanksgiving evening

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

PHOENIX — Valley residents are in for a tame start to Thanksgiving, but should think twice before leaving the couch later in the day because of some potentially severe weather.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch starting Thursday at 11 a.m. and lasting until Friday at 5 p.m. in anticipation of heavy rainfall that could drop more than an inch of rain on the Phoenix area.

Chris Kuhlman with the National Weather Service told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday that the worst storms will come Thursday evening.

“It’ll be a fairly quick rainfall event across the Valley, so it might fall pretty heavily for a brief time with some pretty strong winds,” Kuhlman said.

A wind advisory for the Phoenix area will also go into effect Thursday beginning at 8 p.m. Kuhlman said to expect wind gusts upwards of 35-40 mph.

Earlier in the week, forecasters anticipated the Valley to start receiving heavy rainfall on Wednesday evening, which would have made for an entirely damp and soggy Thanksgiving day.

Temperatures will remain fairly mild for the holiday, with the high expected to be 67 degrees and the low 49 degrees on Thursday.

“There will be some showers tonight and mostly scattered showers in the morning,” ABC15 meteorologist Iris Hermosillo told KTAR News’ Arizona’s Morning News on Wednesday. “I don’t think it’ll be a washout for your Thursday morning, but by the afternoon they will become more widespread.”

Hermosillo said to expect a soggy Black Friday morning for those planning to snag some deals.

North weather will undoubtedly be more disruptive.

State officials say long stretches of two interstate highways in northern Arizona’s high country will likely be closed between late Thursday and early Friday because of expected heavy snowfall.

The Arizona Department of Transportation says Interstate 17 for 40 miles south of Flagstaff and Interstate 40 for 185 miles between Winslow on the east and U.S. 93 on the west likely will be closed until the snowfall lets up and the routes can be plowed.

The National Weather Service forecasts that Flagstaff along both interstates will receive up to 2 feet of snow from the storm and has predicted “difficult to impossible travel conditions” Thanksgiving evening into Friday.

The department says additional highway closures may be necessary.

“If you’re going to travel up north, do it today,” Hermosillo said. “I’d avoid doing it Thursday and Friday.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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