ADOT — With a major winter storm forecast to create “very difficult to impossible” driving conditions in the high country from late Thursday until Friday morning, the Arizona Department of Transportation will close affected highways for safety until snowfall abates and roadways are safe for travel.
ADOT works closely with the Arizona Department of Public Safety to ensure safety during winter weather. With the National Weather Service advising that “travel may be very difficult to impossible” at the height of the storm, which the latest forecast says will be between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, the agencies have determined that the safest course of action is closing highways with blizzard conditions until snow lets up and ADOT’s plows can clear roadways.
Based on the latest forecast, affected areas could include Interstate 40 between US 93 and Winslow, as well as Interstate 17 between Flagstaff and SR 179 near Sedona. However, highway closures are possible wherever the storm creates hazardous driving conditions.
As of Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service forecast called for up to 2 feet of snow in areas above 6,000 feet in elevation and hazardous driving conditions down to 4,500 feet, including much of Yavapai County, the Mogollon Rim and the Grand Canyon.
Be prepared to delay travel if your plans include driving through Arizona’s high country between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Check weather reports and get the latest highway conditions by visiting ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, calling 511 or reviewing ADOT’s Twitter feed (@ArizonaDOT). When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, a free app available at ADOTAlerts.com will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas – where possible, in advance of alternate routes.
Regardless of when and where you travel this weekend, be prepared to spend more time on the roads than usual and, in case you become stranded, pack an emergency kit that includes – at a minimum – extra blankets, warm clothes, food and water, sand or cat litter for traction, a first-aid kit and a fully charged cellphone.
For more winter-driving tips from ADOT, please visit azdot.gov/KnowSnow.