Weather Continues To Hamper Driving In High Country


The driver of this pickup truck was apparently going too fast for the winter driving conditions on Highway 260, 10 miles outside of Heber-Overgaard, Tuesday morning, Feb. 23.

The driver of this pickup truck was apparently going too fast for the winter driving conditions on Highway 260, 10 miles outside of Heber-Overgaard, Tuesday morning, Feb. 23. Photo by Andy Towle. |

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As temperatures continued to drop Monday, the heavy, wet snow turned into a hard, ice base underneath the compacted snow, which contributed to many drivers losing control of their vehicles on the roadways in the Heber/Overgaard area (photo at right).

The weather this week made a pronounced return of snow. Accumulations gave us 6 to 12 inches of the white powder depending on what area you looked at in the Heber or Overgaard area.

It started out Sunday night and snowed about 4 inches of “wet snow” by Monday morning.

Then on Monday, it snowed another 6 to 8 inches.

The temperature continued to drop during the day Monday. So then the wet layer made for a hard, ice base underneath the compacted snow giving everyone who was driving, a less than ideal passage to their destination.

There were many vehicles on the road, some driving very slow, and others driving the speed limit seemingly unaware of the hidden danger of the underlying ice. As well there were some who lost control of their vehicles, only to regain control after slowing.

There was one truck in front of the Circle K convenience store observed losing control sliding into the opposing lanes at very little speed. Fortunately there was no oncoming traffic to avoid.

The driver came to a final stop almost hitting the curb. Once stopped, the driver tried to accelerate but only inching across the ice for a few seconds when the tires began to finally partially gain traction and then moving over to the proper lanes.

There was also a report of a lady driving Tuesday morning who lost control of her vehicle because of ice. Her car slid into a tree off the side of the road. The only damage was to her door. She was not injured.

The elk population is at a lower elevation due to the snow levels being higher as you get closer to the Mogollon Rim. The snow cover that is deep hampers their ability to find food. If there was a short-term storm, of a week or less; they would remain in their normal areas. Traveling by car to lower elevations at this time, elk can often be seen next to roads and highways grazing in areas they are not normally seen.

The car wash to benefit Donna Swanson’s fight on cancer that was originally posted to occur on Feb. 27 has been postponed and rescheduled due to the weather outlook for that day. Look to my next column for the updated schedule for that to occur.

AARP will be offering Tax Aide at the Navajo County Complex, Public Works community room in Overgaard. There is free e-filing. It will be held there every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until April 13 and an appointment is preferred. For appointment, please call (928) 535-9068.

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