Winter storm set to hit Arizona with rain, snow, cold temperatures

Jan 5, 2024, 9:05 AM

Closeup of two sets of hands, one wearing mittens, holding coffee mugs. The subjects appear to be d...

Arizona is bracing for a winter storm starting Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024. (Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — A winter storm is expected to blast into Arizona this weekend, dropping temperatures and possibly bringing rain to the Valley and snow to the high country.

“We have a very cold weather system that’s going to move in on Sunday,” Matt Salerno, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday. “It’s going to drop our temperatures well below normal.”

After highs near 60 degrees on Friday and Saturday, the Phoenix area is in for at least a week of unusually chilly temperatures with highs in the 50s and near-freezing overnight lows.

“Because of the nature of these progressive systems coming across the Southwest and swinging through, we will continue to maintain below-normal temperatures, it looks like, all the way through next week and the next weekend,” Salerno said.

When is the next chance for rain in Valley?

There’s a chance for precipitation in metro Phoenix throughout the day Sunday, peaking at nearly 70% in the late morning and afternoon.

The storm is expected to leave less than 0.1 inches behind, but it could dust the higher elevations with snow.

“For the Valley, it’s going to pretty much stay all rain, although there is a chance that maybe some snow could mix in with the rain if the moisture sticks around long enough up around Anthem, Cave Creek, Carefree,” Salerno said.

The snow, if it falls, isn’t expected accumulate in those areas, he said, but it could leave a white blanket at elevations above 4,000 feet in the Mazatzal Mountains, Superstition Mountains and Four Peaks Wilderness Area.

How much snow is coming to northern Arizona?

There is less uncertainty about what’s coming in northern Arizona, where snow is expected to fall starting as early as Saturday night at elevations above 3,500 feet.

“Areas within that range are probably going to see anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of snow,” Paige Konieczny of the National Weather Service in Flagstaff told KTAR News on Friday.

“And once we climb out to about 5,500 feet, we’re looking to see anywhere from 3 to 8 inches.”

Areas above 7,500 feet, including in the San Francisco Peaks and White Mountains, will see between 8 inches and a foot, Konieczny said.

The winter blast is expected to create hazardous driving conditions in the high country Sunday, with slick roads, high winds and reduced visibility.

“We would advise people to make sure they have at least a half a tank of gas, some emergency supplies as well, just in case,” Konieczny said. “But ideally, just take it slow if you’re out on the roads because it’s going be kind of a little rough out there.”

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

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Winter storm set to hit Arizona with rain, snow, cold temperatures