Winter storm system poised to blanket northern Arizona in snow

Feb 6, 2024, 10:00 AM | Updated: 11:22 am

Image shows snow in northern Arizona....

Transportation and weather officials advised travelers to avoid driving through a winter storm expected to hit northern Arizona, starting Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, unless absolutely necessary. (National Weather Service Photo)

(National Weather Service Photo)

PHOENIX — A winter storm system making its way across the state on Tuesday and Wednesday will be one of the biggest for the season thus far in northern Arizona, weather forecasters said.

The storm system, caused by an atmospheric river coming off the coast of California, could bring significant amounts of rain and snow, Paige Konieczny, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Flagstaff, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

“We’re looking right now at snow (forecast) totals in and around the Flagstaff area – anywhere between 10 and 14 inches roughly, and then more so along the Rim, and toward Munds Park and Kachina Village … upward of, I would say, 14 to 18 inches from that area,” Konieczny said.

When will the storm system cross through northern Arizona?

The system will start off as rain, transitioning into snow at or above elevations of 6,000 to 6,500 feet later in the evening and continuing into the morning, between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., Konieczny said.

“Areas below 6,000 feet could see some flurries, but a far as accumulation goes, probably little to none,” she said.

A winter storm warning will take effect for the area starting at 2 p.m. Tuesday and continuing until 5 p.m. Wednesday.

“Definitely traveling along the [Interstate] 40 and [Interstate] 17 is going to be hazardous throughout this period, just with the incoming snowfall and accumulation values it’s going to make for some difficult travel,” Konieczny said.

“If people really do have to, we definitely advise preparing a winter weather kit with extra food, water and blankets, just in case.”

This storm season, the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport has recorded 36.8 inches of snow, about 15 inches below average for this time of year, NWS said.

Winter travel warning: Here’s what to do before you hit the roads

The Arizona Department of Transportation said anyone that needs to travel during the winter storm should do a few things before hitting the roads: Plan the travel route, fill the fuel tank to at least three-quarters full and let someone know where you’ll be and pack a winter travel emergency kit.

Items to include in the kit are a road map, healthy snacks, safety flares, a small folding shovel, an ice scraper and a first-aid kit.

Drivers should adhere to recommendations by using snow tires, ensuring windshield wiper blades are in proper working condition and switching to winter-grade motor oil.

Other tips include never attempting to pass a snowplow and always maintaining a distance of at least four car lengths behind it.

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

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Winter storm system poised to blanket northern Arizona in snow