Snow Snarls Mountain Travel as Cold Rain Falls in North Phoenix

sunrise
Sunrise on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. North Phoenix News photo

UPDATED 2:55 p.m.. — A beautiful sunrise greeted early risers in North Phoenix on the last day of 2018, but the painted clouds only portended rain that began falling mid-morning. That precipitation fell as snow in the mountains and was expected to dump up to 8 inches in the Flagstaff area by this evening. In North Phoenix, the new year will start out near or below freezing.

Snow was reported this morning in Black Canyon City and Wickenburg (at 2,400 feet), according to the National Weather Service. I-17 northbound had been closed late in the morning, north of SR 69, due to a crash, but is open now, ADOT reported around noon. However, things were getting slippery out there.”I-17 is extremely slow in both directions between New River and Flagstaff due to the storm,” ADOT said early this afternoon. [Story continues below]

Highway 169 (which connects I-17 to SR69 near Dewey-Humboldt) was blocked due to weather and multiple collisions, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, and “collisions abound throughout Prescott and vicinity.” Local and state officials advise delaying travel into the mountains until the storm passes, if possible. (Check out our “heading north in winter” safety tips, plus a downloadable map of places to play in the snow near Flagstaff.)

The Arizona Snowbowl, north of Flagstaff, had 8 inches of new snow already by Noon, the NWS said.

Rainfall totals as of 2:55 p.m. amounted to about 1/10 of an inch across most gauges in North Phoenix.

Most of the rain and snow is expected to fall this afternoon into early evening. The forecast then turns clear and frigid, with lows near or below freezing in the North Valley into Thursday. The North Phoenix forecast from the NWS:

Among ADOT’s tweets about the snow’s effect on traffic:

 

Robert Roy Britt
NoPho resident Robert Roy Britt has written for In&Out publications since its inception in 2005. Britt began his journalism career in New Jersey newspapers in the early 1990s. He later became a science writer and was editor-in-chief of the online media sites Space.com and Live Science. He has written four novels. Email the author.
Robert Roy Britt on Email

Robert Roy Britt

NoPho resident Robert Roy Britt has written for In&Out publications since its inception in 2005. Britt began his journalism career in New Jersey newspapers in the early 1990s. He later became a science writer and was editor-in-chief of the online media sites Space.com and Live Science. He has written four novels. Email the author.

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