FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Coconino County Public Works crews are preparing for a strong storm that’s expected to hit northern Arizona with up to 55 mph winds, rain and between 12 to 24 inches of snow over the weekend.
The National Weather Service on Friday issued a Winter Storm Watch for northern Arizona. The watch is in preparation for a strong low-pressure system that is expected to bring strong winds and rain to the Flagstaff region Saturday, which will turn to snow around midnight.
Snow amounts Sunday are expected to be between 12 to 24 inches above 7,000 ft; 6 to 12 inches above 5,000 ft; and a few inches at 4,500 ft. Rain is expected at lower elevations. The heaviest snowfall will occur Sunday morning, but snow is expected to continue falling throughout the day and into Monday as the system moves east.
Motorists are advised that precipitation is expected along the entire Interstate 17 corridor north from Phoenix to Flagstaff, and long stretches of east and westbound I-40 through Flagstaff. Drivers are asked to use caution, drive slowly and to allow ample breaking space between themselves and other vehicles.
As the storm moves through, County Public Works snow response teams will be working to help keep County roadways clear and passable by:
· Plowing accumulated snow, giving priority to main arterial roadways then collector and residential streets.
· Placing cinders on roadways to provide added traction for motorists.
· “Winging” roadway snow as far back as possible to create the on-site storage space necessary to accommodate snowfall from future storms.
As a reminder, County Ordinance 86-6 prohibits motorists from parking on county roadways between Nov. 1 and April 1 on a 24-hour basis. Residents are asked to park their vehicles five to 10 feet from the roadway to allow ample room for snowplows to pass.
For updates on area road conditions contact:
· Coconino County: 928-779-6630 (During normal business hours, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday).
· Arizona Department of Transportation: Visit www.az511.gov or dial 5-1-1 (State highways and Interstates only).
Be prepared and always have on hand:
· Three days of non-perishable food and water (one gallon per day per family member).
· First aid kit and an extra supply of medication.
· Personal hygiene supplies, extra clothing, footwear, gloves, blankets, sleeping bags.
· Extra food for pets and livestock.
· Flashlight, extra batteries, candles and a battery-operated radio.
· Alternate heat source (kerosene, wood, etc.).
· Full propane tank (if applicable).
· Extra set of car keys, cash and credit cards.
· Snow shovels.
· An emergency plan for the entire family.
Vehicle preparedness tips:
· Winterize your vehicle (antifreeze, wipers, battery and snow tires).
· Carry an emergency kit consisting of tire chains or cables, blankets, a tow strap, jumper cables, flashlight, water, first aid kit, ice scraper, extra clothing, and appropriate tools.
· Keep the gas tank at least half full.
· When traveling, let someone know your intended route and expected time of arrival.
· Allow extra time for travel and drive accordingly.
· Extra blanket and food.