More snow heading to Flagstaff over next several days
PHOENIX – There is no escaping the snow in northern Arizona, where more storms are lining up to unload over the coming days, forecasters said.
Heavy and blowing snow is expected to cover Flagstaff and surrounding cities starting Thursday night, on the heels of a weather system that brought precipitation and winds that topped out at 78 mph in Coconino County the previous day.
A winter storm warning is in effect until 8 a.m. Friday, the National Weather Service said.
“This is not the end – this is actually the beginning,” meteorologist Cindy Kobold with the Flagstaff office told KTAR News 92.3 FM early Thursday.
“We are looking at more snow for the next several days, two more storms for sure.”
Snow will continue Thursday through Friday morning for most of the High Country, becoming heavy this afternoon. Gusty winds will also persist continuing dangerous travel conditions. Snow loading could be a concern in some areas. #AZwx pic.twitter.com/erycHrIvME
— NWS Flagstaff (@NWSFlagstaff) February 23, 2023
The next incoming storm could drop another 8-12 inches around Flagstaff, Williams and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Another storm Saturday night into Sunday may yield between 6-12 inches.
Winds are on track to reach 40-45 mph.
“It doesn’t look like the wind is going to be as impactful,” Kobold said.
Winds blew so hard Wednesday that the weather service had to guess at snow estimates.
“It made it impossible to accurately measure the snow,” Kobold said.
Several highways remain closed Thursday because of the weather, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation:
• State Route 87 between Winslow and Payson (Milepost 342-252)
• SR 260 eastbound between McNary and Greer (MP 360-385)
• SR 273 between SR 260 and Sunrise Park (MP 377-383)
• U.S. 180 north of Snowbowl (MP 236-248)
• SR 64 near the Grand Canyon (MP 240-264)
• U.S. 191 South of Alpine (MP 188-252)
Other roads reopened Thursday, including northbound Interstate 17 between SR 179 and Flagstaff, eastbound Interstate 40 at U.S. 93 (MP 72), and westbound I-40 at Holbrook (MP 289).
Kobold and the rest of the Flagstaff bureau staff were among those who drove I-40 early Wednesday.
“It started out as rain and then it got cold so fast there [was] this icy accumulation that is really horrible on the 40,” she said.
Plows had gotten the snow out of the way, but there was still ice.
“Temperatures are too cold to get it out of there,” Kobold said, “and you don’t have all these semi[trucks] generating friction with their tires to melt that off.”
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.
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