Storm Blankets Rim

A late winter storm coated the Rim with snow off FR 300.

A late winter storm coated the Rim with snow off FR 300. Photo by Pete Aleshire. |

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Around Rim Country the skies opened up over the weekend and gave everything a much needed bath, while filling up rivers and reservoirs.

Roosevelt Lake saw 1.5 inches of rain on Saturday and 1.15 inches on Sunday. The storm added 2,268 cubic feet of water to the reservoir, bringing it to 49 percent capacity.

Before the storm, the Tonto Basin had slipped into extreme drought.

The National Weather Ser­vice reported that the Rim Country received be­tween one and two inches of rain during the weekend, while Pine and Strawberry got flurries of snow.

The storm snapped a long, nearly record dry stretch for Rim Country. Normally, Rim Country gets about 6 inches of rain in January and February — but this year we’d had about less than two-tenths of an inch.

The storm ended a 70-day dry streak in the Valley, with an inch of rain causing some localized flooding.

The storm dropped most of its moisture in the high country. The White Mountains received about four inches of snow in the lower elevations. The Sunrise Ski Resort in the White Mountain Apache Reservation near Show Low has had only 90 inches of snow all season — with 19 inches of that in the past seven days. The Snowbowl Ski Resort near Flagstaff reports 22 inches of snow in the past seven days.

Atop the Mogollon Rim, the storm left 4 to 6 inches of snow. The Arizona Department of Transportation kept the highways cleared throughout the storm. As a bonus to people looking for a romp in the snow, ADOT also cleared the first stretch of Forest Road 300 off Highway 260. That gave people a place to get off the highway, park and build snowmen.

The storm passed quickly through the region, and the sun set to work melting the snow on Monday.

“Temperatures have rebounded to the 50s and 60s across the region this afternoon following the weekend storm,” said the National Weather Service on its Web site. “A high pressure ridge will build over the Southwest through Thursday promoting generally dry weather and warmer temperatures.”

Mostly the Rim Country will see higher than normal temperatures and below average rainfall.

But don’t put those umbrellas away just yet. Another weather disturbance may pass over Arizona on Thursday bringing light showers, with a roughly 40 percent chance of rain in Payson.

Nonetheless, the storm offered a welcome dose of moisture for a forest heading toward a dangerous fire season.

The Salt River Project reported that the Tonto Creek jumped from 7 cubic feet per second to 309 cubic feet per second.

The Salt River, however, remains at 524 cubic feet per second at a time it should be peaking — about 38 percent of normal.

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