For those lulled into believing a La Nina winter means no storms at all, Monday morning proved that assumption wrong.
By 10 a.m., the skies opened up and the snow started dumping.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a winter storm warning for Northern and Central Arizona for Monday at 5 a.m. through Wednesday morning, 5 a.m.
“There is a large strong low pressure system that will be moving across Arizona through Wednesday. As that approaches, we will see the heaviest precipitation tonight (Monday) through Tuesday,” said Daryl Onton, meteorologist for the NWS.
By Wednesday, the storm will move to the east, but until then the Mogollon Rim country could see 12 to 24 inches of snow above 5,500 feet. Another storm might hit this weekend, but the NWS does not have many details yet, said Onton.
For snowfall reports and winter weather news Onton suggests tuning into the NWS website at: www.wrh.noaa.gov/fgz/.
To make sure NWS in up on local weather, residents may send in personal weather reports at this address.
ADOT reported icy conditions between Payson and Rye on Highway 87 and by Kohl’s ranch on Highway 260. Ice caused several accidents due to slippage from Pine and Strawberry to the Water Wheel area of the Houston-Mesa Road.
This winter storm warning calls for severe weather and dangerous driving conditions. DPS reports that overnight and morning low temperatures could cause a hard freeze making highways extremely slippery. DPS asks travelers to avoid traveling to the northern part of Arizona Monday night.
If residents must travel, carry food, water, warm blankets and extra clothes in case of emergency. Make sure others know your destination time of departure and arrival. Charge up the cell phone. Watch for ice, especially on bridges and overpasses. If conditions make driving to dangerous or the car breaks down, stay in the vehicle. Run the engine and heater for short amounts of time and crack a window to avoid carbon monoxide build up.