Second Arizona storm brings heavy snow, rain - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Second Arizona storm brings heavy snow, rain

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Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 11:34 am

A strong winter storm walloped much of Arizona on Saturday, bringing heavy snow and rain and the temporary closure of a large section of Interstate 40.

The storm combined with another that hit the state Friday to drop as much as 2 feet of snow in the mountains north of Flagstaff, at least a foot in Flagstaff and along the Mogollon Rim and about 6 inches in Prescott, according to the National Weather Service.

Scattered power outages were reported.

West of Flagstaff, a 50-mile section of I-40 was shut down for several hours Saturday afternoon after heavy snow caused limited visibility and multiple vehicle spinouts, Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman Garin Groff said.

The department recommended tire chains and four-wheel drive vehicles on Interstate 17 between the Sedona turnoff and Flagstaff, but no official limits were in place, Groff said. That section of highway also has seen many spinouts and crashes since early Saturday.

State Route 64 from State Route 89A to the Grand Canyon south entrance and the road to Mount Lemmon outside Tucson also are closed.

The storm largely tapered off Saturday and was expected to mostly leave the state before Sunday, weather service meteorologist Ben Peterson said. Most of the heavy snowfall in Flagstaff had ended by early afternoon.

"Essentially, the heavy and persistent snow is over right now, although it's kind of hairy out there," he said.

Heavy rain was persisting in Phoenix as evening approached, but should also taper off overnight, Peterson said.

The forecast for central Arizona called for lingering rain through early Sunday.

A minor weather system is expected to move through the northern part of the state Sunday, but it will only drop about an inch of snow in the northern parts of the state before moving out and leaving the state dry until at least Tuesday.

That's when another winter system is expected to move into Arizona, bringing more rain to Phoenix and Tucson and snow in the higher elevations of the state.

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