Snow comes down in Flagstaff, closing freeway, canceling classes

Feb 23, 2022, 7:17 AM | Updated: 2:54 pm

PHOENIX – Snow falling in Arizona’s high country shut down roads, delayed or canceled classes and office hours and otherwise disrupted Wednesday morning routines.

By noon, 10 inches had landed at Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, the National Weather Service reported from its office in nearby Bellemont.

Snow and ice forced closures of Interstate 40 eastbound from Ash Fork to Williams, a 20-mile segment, and also at Kingman from well before sunup to just before noon.

Northbound lanes of State Route 87 were closed between Payson and Winslow; SR 89A was shut down between Sedona and Flagstaff and SR 260 was closed between Heber and Star Valley, the Arizona Department of Transportation reported.

Flagstaff Unified School District canceled Wednesday classes ahead of the storm, including after-school activities; Northern Arizona University delayed the start of classes until 10 a.m.

Coconino County municipal offices pushed back their start times by two hours and courts were to operate with limited staffing, according to officials.

The weather service said snow was expected to drop as low as 4,000 feet elevation and hit hardest morning through afternoon.

“We could see some significant snowfall rates,” Carter Humphreys, a Flagstaff bureau meteorologist, told KTAR News 92.3 FM early Wednesday. Forecasters anticipated 2 inches falling every hour during the heaviest period.

The city should see 6-10 inches but the number could go as high as 14 inches, he said.

“Today is definitely not the day to be traveling,” he said.

ADOT situated snow plows along the interstates, agency spokesman Ryan Harding said. Crews began working during Tuesday night’s snowfall.

“Our plow operators work in 12-hour shifts,” Harding said. “They will continue to be out there.”

He added the fewer cars on the road the better for the crews to get their jobs done.

“That gives our plows time to clear the road and do the work they need to do to keep the highways open and passable.”

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

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Snow comes down in Flagstaff, closing freeway, canceling classes