Forecasters are warning Rim Country residents to brace for a series of storms this week that will drop several feet of snow on the Rim and at least a half-dozen inches of rain in town that could swell already saturated riverbeds, causing flooding from Kohl’s Ranch to the Verde River.
The National Weather Service in Flagstaff said there would be a break in the storm action Tuesday, but residents can expect to see it pick up again Tuesday night with at least an inch of rain falling in town.
On Wednesday, another storm will put on the second act, dropping another inch of rain.
The main event starts Thursday and plays into Friday with at least 4 to 6 inches of rain falling, likely turning into snow Friday, said Meteorologist Brian Klimowski with the NWS Tuesday morning.
Already Monday’s storm is being blamed for one accident along Highway 260 and knocking the power out in Christopher Creek, Tonto Village and Bear Flat.
Around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, a pickup towing a 6,000-pound trailer jackknifed on Highway 260, 14 miles east of Payson, after hitting an icy patch.
The pickup blocked the roadway and when a snowplow came upon the truck, it tried to go around it, but got stuck in the snow.
The Department of Public Safety eventually cleared the roadway around 4 a.m. No one was injured, said DPS Sgt. Terry Lincoln.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation Tuesday, Highway 260, from milepost 252 to 305, is restricted to vehicles with chains or four-wheel drive.
Besides slick roads, Klimowski said the storm will surely cause flooding.
“You can anticipate a significant amount of water in the washes and areas prone to flooding,” he said, adding, “Don’t expect to be able to drive up on the Rim for a couple days” due to 2 to 4 feet of snow.
On Tuesday, the NWS issued a winter storm warning urging residents to stay off roadways until the storm passes.
If you have to drive, take emergency supplies including winter clothing, food, water and a flashlight.
If the Rim Country gets as much rainfall as predicted, there may be a need among some residents for sand bags.
The Payson and Hellsgate Fire Departments both have bags available for free, but no sand. Sand is available at Payson Concrete & Materials, Gila Redi Mix and The Home Depot.
At Payson Concrete, a ton of sand can be purchased for $16, but will also be sold by the pound. Gila Redi Mix offers the sand for $16 per ton too, but in the event of an emergency will sell it for $12 per ton, though it is unlikely anyone would need a ton of sand. The Home Depot will sell a half cubic yard of sand for $25, but also has “tube sand” available for $3.10 each — this is already in sacks that will work as sand bags. Contact Payson Concrete at 474-2231, Gila Redi Mix at 474-3747, or The Home Depot at 468-0339.