Drivers warned to stay home during Arizona’s high country winter storm, weather service says

Jan 16, 2023, 9:41 AM | Updated: 8:18 pm
(Twitter Photo/@GrandCanyonNPS)...
(Twitter Photo/@GrandCanyonNPS)
(Twitter Photo/@GrandCanyonNPS)

PHOENIX — As a record-round of winter storms passed through Arizona’s high country into Monday morning, weather officials warned travelers to stay home as more hazardous storms are in the forecast.

Another wave of storm activity picked up into the afternoon in Flagstaff, as a winter storm warning is in effect through 11 p.m. Tuesday evening for elevations above 5,500 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

“Instead of telling you the whole spiel of when not to drive, we think it’s easier to give the advice of just staying home this weekend,” NWS said. “It’ll be messy in the high country and we want everyone to enjoy their holiday weekend. Think about changing your travel plans.”

Snow showers were forecast continue into Monday evening, with anywhere from 2-4 inches of new snow expected, according to NWS in Flagstaff.

On Sunday, Flagstaff recorded a daily snow total of 14.8 inches, breaking the last record of 8.9 inches set in 1978.

As more snow accumulates, portions of Interstate 40 from Williams to Flagstaff and Interstate 17 from Flagstaff to the overlook could become impassable at times, weather officials said.

Driving conditions in northern Arizona likely could see conditions improve by Wednesday morning, accompanied by cold temperatures and some remaining ice spots on roadways.

Road closures and weather conditions can be found online.

While some northern cities in Arizona were blanketed in snow, the Valley recorded moderate rain Sunday and Monday — with more to follow.

The Phoenix metro area experienced .20-.35 inches of rain Monday, while some surrounding regions had over an inch of precipitation, according to the Flood Control District of Maricopa County.

Overnight thunderstorms are in the forecast, with a 54% chance of rain at midnight Tuesday and a 67% chance at 1 a.m. in Phoenix, according to the Weather Channel.

Approximately 2,050 SRP customers lost power for nearly two hours in Phoenix Monday evening around 6 p.m. The impacted area stretched from 31st to 15th avenues between Maryland Avenue and Camelback Road.

In southern Arizona, Tucson saw its daily record for rain on Monday at .59 inches, breaking the previous mark of .37 inches in 1987, according to the National Weather Service Tucson.

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Drivers warned to stay home during Arizona’s high country winter storm, weather service says