A gradual warming trend that started last week will end dramatically Wednesday forecasters say when a strong storm system from the northwest will bring cooler temperatures and widespread snow and rain.
Forecasters anticipate several inches of snow in Payson and upwards of a foot on the Mogollon Rim and areas above 6,000 feet.
The National Weather Service Monday issued a winter weather advisory between the hours of midnight Tuesday through Wednesday evening.
Motorists can expect hazardous winter driving conditions during that time. Snow should start falling sometime in the early morning hours Wednesday and be heaviest from 5 a.m. to noon.
Despite several big storms, this winter actually ranks as relatively dry, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Flagstaff told the Roundup Monday.
Overall, the area’s rainfall totals are roughly three inches below normal. In Flagstaff, totals are 20 inches below normal.
“We are looking forward (to the storm),” she said. “We need to catch up.”
Flagstaff’s Snowbowl ski area has seen no new snow in the past week. The storm could add some much-needed snow to the area’s 59-inch snow base.
The storm should move in rapidly, bringing blowing snow, poor visibility and very cold temperatures, especially in the higher elevations.
The unsettled weather could continue through the week, with a slight chance for light snow and rain persisting into the weekend as a low-pressure trough sits over the West.
The Weather Service says cool temperatures will stick around through Monday, so don’t put away those coats just yet.