Many in our community have faced weather-related challenges in the last week.
On Thursday, Dec. 30, a winter storm made a visit that brought 12 to 15 inches of snow to the Heber-Overgaard area. This winter storm forced the closure of Highway 260 heading west from Heber to Payson. Many motorists were searching for hotel rooms and waiting out the road closure for the night.
Rooms were sold out in a few of the local hotels. Some motorists, once informed of the open passage on U.S. 60, opted to return to Show Low and transverse U.S. 60 through the Salt River Canyon and Globe to return to the Phoenix area. That route was closed toward the evening once there were a significant amount of vehicle accidents occurring on that route. In the early hours of New Year’s Day, the Heber-Overgaard area experienced damaging temperatures as the thermometer dropped between minus 15 and minus 19 degrees.
Many residents were contending with frozen and/or bursting water pipes, dead batteries, and other severe cold-related problems.
“Walking out into those temperatures just plain hurts,” one resident said when leaving out of a local convenience store. “If the temperature dips any further, we may have worse problems than this such as fuel thickening in the tanks of vehicles,” he went on to say.
As the days passed, the unusually low temperatures have climbed and will continue to climb into this weekend forecasters predict.