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Winter storms expected to dump up to 15 inches of snow in Flagstaff

By Sarah Robinson, KTVK KPHO Staff

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    FLAGSTAFF, Arizona (KPHO, KTVK) — A major winter storm rolled through much of Arizona early Tuesday, bringing the potential for dangerous driving conditions and more than a foot of snow to higher elevations.

A spokesperson for the city, Sam Beckett, says Flagstaff has already had a near record-breaking snow accumulation for January, which has made preparation for this storm more complicated.

“I think we cracked the third largest January snowfall in history and the biggest piece was after the events. Crews up until Friday were still doing snow hauling in the communities to try and free up space to be able to move around in some of the priority areas. Our downtown area. Trying to haul all that snow out of there has been a monumental effort. And then the transition right back to snow operations has been just a ton of work. It’s constant, it never lets up,” said Beckett.

According to the First Alert Meteorologist April Warneke, heavy snow is expected in the High Country, with blowing dust expected in desert spots. Forecasters are predicting nine to fifteen inches for Flagstaff, about three to five for Prescott, and one to three inches in Sedona.

Crews in northern Arizona have already taken an abundance of caution, with Flagstaff Unified, Williams, Unified, Embry-Riddle, and Blue Ridge also canceling classes for Tuesday. Closer to Phoenix, a High Wind Warning is in effect of the Superstition and Pinal and Superstition Mountains from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. as gusts of up to 70mph are possible.

In the meantime, Flagstaff is already seeing near-blizzard conditions. and Beckett says the city is asking those who don’t need to travel, to stay off the roads.

“If you don’t have to travel, don’t travel. We’re going to see some pretty significant snow storms, snow events coming in the next 24-48 hours or so. Expecting the bulk of it to come in tomorrow afternoon. We are going to see a lot of wind, a lot of snow at times. It’s going to make traveling very hazardous and we just hope that if people don’t have to travel, don’t travel. Stay home, if you have that option to remote work tomorrow would be a great day to do that,” He said.

If you do decide to drive, Beckett says, stay clear of snow plows. Each year they have incidents where people get into trouble getting too close to one or trying to pass one.

“When you see the snowplows, give them some extra space. Don’t assume they can see you, their focus is on their plow, and understanding where they are on the road. They aren’t watching the car coming up behind them too fast. Give them a little extra space,” Beckett said.

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